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Endangerment charges stem from alleged 'bath salt madness'

Previously, we have discussed legal developments surrounding the use of bath salts that are designed to mimic the intoxicating effects of illegal drugs. Some jurisdictions have already banned these substances and Pennsylvania state authorities are considering a similar ban. Recently, using these bath salts led to criminal charges being filed against a Pennsylvania couple.

Charges were recently modified for an Easton couple accused of getting high on bath salts and frantically calling for police assistance while imagining that burglars were trying to enter their home. Authorities have added reckless endangerment to each of their charges and eliminated an earlier child endangerment charge. Reckless endangerment is a lesser charge than child endangerment and it carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The couple also agreed to give up their right to a preliminary hearing. In exchange, the prosecution dismissed weapons charges and drug charges that were pending against the couple.

According to police reports, the husband and wife used bath salts on Christmas Day. The bath salts contain a chemical mixture that can induce the same type of effects as cocaine or crystal meth. The bath salts have been reported to cause wild hallucinations in people who ingest them.

When police in Easton responded to the couple's frequent emergency requests, authorities found the husband and wife hallucinating. The wife allegedly became so out of control that she threatened to leap from a two-story window with her child, until police subdued her.

Bath salts have not been banned by the Pennsylvania state government yet. However, the state legislature is currently considering several different proposals. Among them are plans to totally ban bath salts that mimic the effects of drugs along with separate measures that would disallow the chemicals used to make the toxic mixture.

Source: The Morning Call, "Police: Easton couple high on bath salts face trial," Pamela Lehman, 4/25/2011

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