Delaware is moving to ban so-called bath salts, powerful stimulants that can mimic the effects of cocaine, LSD or methamphetamine, officials said on Thursday.
The state's Controlled Substances Advisory Committee planned an emergency meeting on Friday to consider an immediate ban on the substances, which typically can be bought at tobacco shops and gas stations, and online, authorities said.
Bath salts have emerged as legal alternatives to cocaine and methamphetamines, and versions of the substances have been banned in the European Union, Australia, Canada and Israel. Many U.S. states also ban them, and moves are afoot in other states to make them illegal.
Delaware aims to ban three synthetic chemical compounds used to produce bath salts marketed under such names as "Ivory Wave," "Purple Wave," "Vanilla Sky" or "Bliss," officials said.
"We have every reason to make these drugs illegal," said Governor Jack Markell in a statement. "These drugs present a danger to public safety. They have no legitimate use and can cause incredible damage to the lives of the user and those around the user."
The committee that is meeting on Friday can make a recommendation to Delaware's Secretary of State, who has the authority to enact an immediate ban, said a spokeswoman for the governor's office.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the chemicals for human consumption or medical use, and there is no oversight of their manufacture, Delaware officials said.
Bath salts are commonly smoked, snorted or injected. Users experience an intense high, euphoria, extreme energy, hallucinations, insomnia and are easily provoked to anger, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Greg McCune)