WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Lou Barletta, PA-11, praised the passage of a bill that will ban so-called bath salts and other synthetic drug substitutes.

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1254, the Synthetic Drug Control Act, which places so-called bath salts and synthetic drug substitutes on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. It bans chemical compounds used in synthetic drugs that are commonly sold as bath salts or plant food.

These substances have been identified as cocaine substitutes. Also banned will be chemical compounds that affect the brain in a similar way as THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

"Bath salts destroy many lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond because those who would make them, sell them, and use them exploited a loophole in the law. Today, I'm proud to help close that loophole and protect people – especially our children – from these dangerous drugs," Barletta said.

Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act bans drugs and controlled substances that have a high potential for abuse and have no use in medical treatment in the United States.

H.R. 1254, of which Barletta is an original cosponsor, also gives the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency more authority to temporarily ban drugs such as these in the interest of public safety until the agency can prove the chemical is harmful or lacks medicinal or industrial value and should be banned permanently.