09/26/2012 09:13 EDT | Updated 11/26/2012 05:12 EST

Bath Salts Canada: MDPV, Key Bath Salts Ingredient, To Be Treated Like Cocaine, Heroin


OTTAWA - The federal government is banning a key ingredient found in the street drug known as bath salts.

The compound, called MDPV, will now be treated the same as cocaine or heroin.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq says the new rules make it illegal to possess, traffic, import or export the substance.

The compound can be used in legitimate research if authorized by regulation.

The minister says the decision to ban MDPV follows concerns expressed by health officials about the health and safety risks associated with its use.

She says police and the Canada Border Services Agency are also concerned about the substance’s growing popularity and availability.

The government stressed that people shouldn't confuse MDPV and its street name with legitimate bath products.

The street drug may resemble the legal product, but is said to have mind-altering properties.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police welcomed the ban, calling it "an important step in stopping organized criminal groups from acquiring and profiting from this illegal substance."

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