OTTAWA - The federal government moved Tuesday to ban the key ingredient in the street drug known as "bath salts" by this fall. A few facts about the substance from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and the Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use:
— "Bath salts" does not refer to products for the bath, but is a street name for a synthetic stimulant that looks like real bath salts.
— The products are often identified as "legal highs" or "not illegal," but they are not safe.
— Effects include hallucinations, paranoia, chest pain, blurry vision, increased body temperature, agitation and violence.
— Sold by dealers through the Internet or in head shops.
— Street names include Ivory Wave, Vanilla Sky, Pure Ivory, Cloud Nine, Whack, Bolivian Bath, Purple Wave.
— Key ingredients could include MDPV, methylone or mephedrone, which are members of a group of drugs known as synthetic cathinones.
— The drug is most problematic on the east coast.
— Research shows no evidence of use in Vancouver or Edmonton and anecdotal use in Prince Albert and Winnipeg. Toronto and Ottawa are on alert. Health authorities in New Glasgow, N.S., have noted 14 incidents in the past few months.