Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > DEA Classifies Bath Salt Chemical as Schedule I Drug After Oversight

DEA Classifies Bath Salt Chemical as Schedule I Drug After Oversight

Posted 18 October 2012 | By

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has placed methylone, a powerful stimulant and psychoactive drug most notorious for its presence in bath salts, into its Schedule I of highly restricted drugs with no accepted medical use within the US.

The drug is chemically similar to other drugs like Ecstasy (MDMA), which has been a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) since 1985.

DEA's actions would act to put into place a more permanent solution, overriding an emergency ban it put into place on 21 October 2011. The initial ban was put into place to address concerns that people-and in particular teenagers-were abusing bath salts for their stimulative and psychoactive effects. In particular, the order, "was based on findings by the Administrator of the DEA that the temporary scheduling of these three synthetic cathinones was necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety," DEA explained in its Federal Register notice.

The temporary order was set to expire on 21 October 2012. Under the FDA Safety and Innovation Act, two of the three forms of cathiones-the class of products to which methylone belongs-addressed by DEA in its October 2011 emergency order were banned and automatically placed into a Schedule I designation. Due to an oversight, says DEA, methylone was not among those three, requiring the agency to issue its 17 October Federal Register notice classifying the drug as Schedule I.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) states that there is currently no accepted use for the drug, and that no medical professionals are currently licensed to administer it. The move would also make it more difficult for any company choosing to study the drug to conduct clinical trials or preclinical research.


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