Drug War

Chuck Schumer Brags About Banning Already Banned Drugs; Time Claims He Also Banned Every Conceivable Substitute


This week President Obama signed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, which includes the new ban on two chemicals used in speed substitutes sold as "bath salts." I say "new," but the stimulants covered by the law, mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), were already illegal under an "emergency" ban announced by the Drug Enforcement Administration last year. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) nevertheless brags about banning them again:

Schumer successfully fought to include three bills relating to synthetic substances—S. 409 (Bath Salts), S. 605 (Synthetic Marijuana) and S. 839 (Synthetic Hallucinogens)—as part of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act….

"President Obama's swift approval of this federal ban is the final nail in the coffin for the legal sale of bath salts in smoke shops and convenient [sic] stores in New York State and throughout the rest of the country," said Schumer. "This law will close loopholes that have allowed manufacturers to circumvent local and state bans and ensure that you cannot simply cross state lines to find these deadly bath salts."  

None of that is true, since 1) mephedrone and MDPV were already covered by the DEA's ban, which the agency had the authority to make permanent, and 2) there are lots of other synthetic stimulants that can be used to make bath salts. Time's Patience Haggin nevertheless falls for Schumer's boast, claiming "the new ban is the first to be enacted on a federal level, meaning it covers the online and interstate sale of bath salts," thereby addressing "one of the biggest weaknesses of prior local bans."

Haggin goes even further than Schumer, asserting that his law "prohibits not only the compounds currently identified as 'bath salts,' but also outlaws similar compounds that may be produced in the future." She says that "in addition to the identified compounds, the law also prohibits other any [sic] synthetics that may have different chemical formulas but produce the same effects." Later she reiterates that "the bill also prohibits 'analogues' of the banned compounds—compounds that may differ slightly in their chemical makeup but produce very similar reactions in users." Hence "when new compounds (which have most likely already been created by drug designers) hit the market, drug enforcement agents will be able to crack down on them under the same law, without the need for new legislation."

But the bill—which never mentions "analogues" (or "analogs," except in the FDA part, which refers to "recombinant analogs" of "plasma products")—includes no such provision, at least with respect to bath salts. It does impose a general ban on "cannabimimetic agents," in addition to 15 specifically listed ingredients used in synthetic marijuana, which may be the source of Haggin's confusion. If it were true that the law prevented bath salt manufacturers from staying one step ahead of the government "by slightly altering the chemical formula to create a compound that may be only a few molecules different but delivers the same high," as Haggin asserts, the DEA's complaints about the law's limited reach would make no sense.

Speaking of making no sense, Haggin's article begins promisingly enough, asking, "Is our long zombie cannibal bath salt apocalypse finally over?" Despite that seemingly jocular opening, she is deadly serious, reporting in the very next sentence that bath salts "have been implicated in a slew of grisly attacks in recent months." In the second-to-last paragraph, Haggin concedes that "the first and most famous attack reported as part of the 'zombie bath salt' craze was revealed last week [two weeks ago, but never mind] to be unrelated to the designer drug" when "a toxicology report on the perpetrator, Rudy Eugene, found that the attacker had no synthetic compounds (only marijuana) in his system." Still, "experts say there is no doubt that the drug is dangerous," since it "has been linked to other attacks and is known to produce violent reactions."

Which experts? For that matter, which drug? After all, as Haggin emphasizes, bath salts may include any of myriad active ingredients. And could Haggin educate the reader by describing some of these "other attacks," presumably by people who, unlike Eugene, actually consumed bath salts? Although she claims to have "a slew" of examples, somehow she cannot part with even one.

I have a suggestion for Time's editors that could spare them a lot of embarrassment: Never let anyone but Maia Szalavitz write about drugs for you. 

More on bath salts here.

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  1. It's shaping up to be Douche Wednesday. Frum then Schumer. Who's next? Brooks? Krugabe? Kristof?

    1. if ever a politician deserved to be drawn and quartered in the public square, it is Schumer. The man's picture should be next to d-bag in the dictionary.

  2. Well what good is having a big ass banhammer if you don't smash it around every once in a while.

  3. Schumer is possibly the biggest scumbag in Congress, and that's truly saying something. If you really, really want to hate Schumer with a passion, watch Waco: The Rules of Engagement and watch his questioning in the Congressional hearings about it. Warning: you might shoot your television.

    1. Everybody who knows anything knows that flashbangs don't cause fires, you moron.

      1. And burning CS gas doesn't result in cyanide poisoning.

        1. They were religious christians, clinging to bibles and guns. They had to be exterminated.

          1. probably had antipathy toward those who were not like them, too. It is agreed then; they had to die. For the good of the state.

    2. I live in New York. That man's fucking mug shows up on TV every day as it is. Why would I choose to watch him?

      1. Hey!
        Mebbe we could make whatever is happenin with Jesse Jackson, Jr happen to Schumer?

        Worth a shot ...

  4. well now that it's banned for real I guess the problem is solved, right?
    Like that other drug, what's it called, mary joona or something. It's been so long since anyone even mentioned it because it's illegal and all.

  5. Some more bath salts histeria courtesy of the Union Leader:


    This part amused me:

    "Rockingham County is also grappling with the new and growing drug problem, he said.

    A few weeks ago, a woman's bizarre behavior led police to seize more than $100,000 worth of bath salts and other synthetic drugs from a market on Route 125 in Plaistow near the Massachusetts border.

    The bath salts raid was the first of its kind in New Hampshire, Downing said.

    A few days later, the woman was found again displaying bizarre behavior, this time near the Plaistow market."

    Hmmm....but was the woman's bizarre behaviour due to bath salts ?

    1. and this:
      "According to Richard N. Van Wickler, superintendent of the Cheshire County House of Corrections in Keene, the use of bath salts in the United States increased 2,000 percent in 2010."

      well there you have it on the highest authority: the superintendent of the Cheshire County House of Corrections in Keene, NH.

      1. And isn't Keene full of those libertarian types? Hmmmm.....hmmmm.

    2. If you think that's bad, you should have read some of the shit they printed when Loeb was still the publisher.

  6. Alt-text: Schumer mistakenly gives index finger to America.

  7. The rather fetching Gretchen Hamel was apparently the boss in a recent Dear Prudence letter who pulled down the skirt of one of her employees.


    I don't know what kind of organization she runs. But I am thinking working there might have a few benefits.

    1. I had read about Oxford Bags years ago. They look extremely comfortable, don't they?

      1. Which would be better, Gretchen pulling your pants down or watching her pull down some other chick's skirt? Assuming the other girl is attractive, they both have their advantages.

        1. It depends. Is she going to give the other girl a spanking?

          1. We can only hope. Remember, we only know what someone was willing to write to Dear Prudence. I am sure the truth is much better.

          2. And after the spanking, the oral sex!

            1. I can handle the peril on my own!

        2. I had to smack my nephew and his friends up at the pool a few weekends back for pantsing one another. My nephew complained, 'but he pants me first!' (all around thirty, btw). 'Then punch him!', I told him. Christ, kids these days.

          1. I know. I got to be the worst advocate of the non coercion principle ever. I really believe in non-coercion but violence is a necessary and moral response to a lot of different things, like pantsing at a sausage fest. Their ugly asses were an initiation of force against my eyeballs.

          2. their ages, sadly, are not surprising. It's like their parents gave this generation some sort of pill to stunt their intellectual/social development.

            1. The only way to put an end to this sort of behavior is to goad them into pantsing Warty. After they are get through vomiting and clawing out their eyes, they should be nicely shock-imprinted into never doing it again... assuming they lived through it.

            2. I'll never claim to be the most mature human being in the world, far, far from it. However, I do adhere to a strict code.

              Pantsing dudes around other dudes is pointless without women around because there is no shame involved. You might as well be in a knitting circle in terms of manly behavior, ie. establishing your dominance in the confines of a pack.

            3. Well when you raise an entire generation on no score soccer games, participation ribbons, no red ink to indicate wrong answers on homework so that everyone can feel like a winner, you can't really be surprised when you end up with an entire generation of self entitled narcissistic douche nozzle kidults.

              *Disclaimer: I'm 34, but luckily missed out on most of the above bullshit.

              1. Their specific problem is the alpha male of the pack is a jack weasel pussy. He was actually the guy that my nephew pantsed. Disgusting body mass. He is fat but not fat like the barrel shape common to men, but like an obese woman with flab and boobs hanging down.

                This guy was raised by his grandparents, and spoiled like nothing I've ever seen. When he was in high school, his grandpa would come by on his work break no less and drop off a bag from McDonald's everyday with two sandwiches and fries. His pussy digestive track could not stomach the cafeteria food like other kids. Delicate little bastard.

                And he is their alpha male. That blows my mind, and I can see his shitty influence manifest through out that entire group. So I treated him like crap to show his followers the deference they show him reflects poorly on themselves.

  8. Time is perhaps the worst offender in the Media Doom Hysteria business.

  9. I can neither confirm nor deny that Chucky has pantsed goats while chugging 4Loko and smearing spice on his chest.

    1. I think you wrote "pantsed" when you meant "blew".

  10. Anyone else feeling like this is going to be a slow news day?

    1. I wish the HR folks would have a post on the Krugnuts beatdown from yesterday.

      That was epic. It deserves its own thread.

      1. I haven't had a chance to watch that yet. I need to get my economics MMA on.

      2. I love the classic Spaniard etiquette on display. They politely build him up just to tear him down. After the first few times, you could see Krugman tensing up as the compliments were rolling off the current speaker's lips. The greater the adulation, the more severe the beating to come would be administered.

      3. I'm either gonna need a link or enough info to find that.

        1. I found it on Zero Hedge yesterday.

        2. Here ya go Coeus.



  11. What really bothers me is the ban on substances that are not known to exist, and may be invented in the future.

    Just as it's generally frowned upon to retroactively criminalize behavior, it's dangerous to try to criminalize future crime.

    I hope that the courts overturn this on procedural grounds.

    (RC, et als, is "procedural" the proper word for this?)

    1. No. It would be on substantive grounds. I think the objection would be void for vagueness. Since the law doesn't and can't specify what substances are actually banned, how can anyone comply with it?

      Beyond that it shows that these laws are more about the puritanical belief that no one anywhere should be happy than public safety since even a safe substitute would still be banned.

      1. I'm pretty sure this woman's claim that other analogs that havn't been invented yet are banned in this bill is completely false. That just wouldn't make sense condidering the Chemical Analogs Act already bans really close analogs of schedule 1 substances.

      2. SN, Has anyone mounted a serious legal challenge to the CAA?

    2. Thanks, John.

      Puritanical beliefs, or just plain cynical pandering knowing that the courts will probably overturn it.

      1. Its a win/win/win.

        Puritanical beliefs? Check.

        Cynical pandering? Check.

        Faux outrage if the courts overturn it? Check.

  12. But the bill?which never mentions "analogues" (or "analogs," except in the FDA part, which refers to "recombinant analogs" of "plasma products")?includes no such provision, at least with respect to bath salts. It does impose a general ban on "cannabimimetic agents," in addition to 15 specifically listed ingredients used in synthetic marijuana, which may be the source of Haggin's confusion.

    I think the true source of her confusion was the bath saltz she took before writing the article.

  13. And just the other day Tony was talking about how much better the Democrats were on the War on Drugs.

  14. This is how you solve the problem:

    "Hey schumer, there is a camera over hear near the edge of the grand canyon."

  15. Ah yes, the heights of stupidity are always reached when banning physics and chemistry and thinking its a 'ban' of any sort at all.

    Some people don't need drugs, they're giggling narcissistic fools already.

  16. I expect better reporting from Reason and Jacob Sullum. You guys should know that the legislation only bans certain classes of synthetic cannabinoids, so Schumer is lying about how wide the bath salt and synthetic cannabinoid ban goes.

    1. You should read the article, because it mentions synthetic cannabinoids being banned and Schumer conflating that very thing.

  17. Why is this federal ban named after him?? this should be named after my father my father is the first person to be killed by someone who has injested bath salts and Mississippi had enough respect for my father being he was a law enforcment officer to name there ban after my dad " The Crenshaw Act" that I would say my dad has earned the federal ban to be named after him.

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