Bills advancing to toughen Indiana 'bath salts' law

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Indiana state agencies would have more power to suspend the licenses of businesses caught selling synthetic drugs known as "bath salts" and other nicknames under proposals moving through the Legislature.

State senators on Tuesday approved a bill that would also make it illegal to possess or deal "lookalike" synthetic drugs. The current law only prohibits drugs with specific chemical makeups.

The bill would require the state to suspend the business license for a year of any retailer caught selling synthetic drugs or lookalikes. Other provisions would expand the ability of prosecutors to file charges against those driving under the influence of synthetic drugs.

The Senate bill now goes to the House, which has been working on a similar proposal.

Growing concern over the effects of the drug has prompted other states, including Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi, to consider or pass legislation restricting the sale of synthetic drugs.

In 2011, it was reported that bath salts prompted a spike in calls to the Indiana Poison Center. Some Indiana residents have explained to Eyewitness News how the drugs - until recently sold over the counter in this state - led to psychological and physical problems.

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