Ohio AG announces crackdown on synthetic drugs

ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS AP Legal Affairs Writer Published:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio's attorney general has announced a crackdown on the sale and abuse of synthetic drugs such as bath salts and herbal incense.

Attorney General Mike DeWine said Wednesday he will warn stores about criminal charges and civil lawsuits they could face for any involvement in making or distributing such drugs.

DeWine called people peddling the drugs vicious marketers who are killing people.

DeWine also announced a new effort to train police officers statewide to help them identify and handle synthetic drug cases.

Bath salts are crystalized chemicals that are snorted, swallowed or smoked. They can cause paranoia and hallucination, and their use has led to hundreds of calls to poison centers nationwide.

Ohio lawmakers made them illegal in 2011, and an updated law is working through the Legislature.