The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has banned three chemicals found in products marketed as "" and "plant food" that, when ingested, produce a high users liken to cocaine or methamphetamine.
It is now illegal to possess or sell the chemicals, which the DEA says can cause extreme paranoia, violent episodes and disorientation.
The ban on the three stimulants -- Mephedrone, MDPV and Methylone -- will last a year and then may become permanent.
Teens and young adults sniff, inject or smoke the crystals, authorities say. The salts, with names like Ivory Wave, Bliss and Vanilla Sky, are sold at small retail stores and gas stations.
The DEA took the same action earlier this year with "synthetic marijuana" products like , banning five chemicals found in the leafy material, which is marketed as herbal incense but which is often rolled into cigarettes and smoked to produce a high similar to marijuana.
But while local retailers like on Prospect Road removed K2 from their shelves, it was quickly replaced by products like which contain slightly different high-producing chemicals that are legal.
It will be the same with bath salts, officials predict.
"It's not like they can outlaw a product like bath salts or K2," Strongsville Detective Lt. John Janowski told Strongsville Patch earlier this year. "They're sold for one purpose and used for another."
Strongsville police have had several encounters with people suffering from paranoia and other medical issues.
The DEA announced it would outlaw the chemicals several months ago. The ban took effect last week.
The DEA says the products are "comprised of a class of chemicals perceived as mimics of cocaine, LSD, MDMA, and/or methamphetamine. Users have reported impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia, and violent episodes."
Long-term effects are not yet known,
DEA says the chemicals have not been approved for human consumption, there there is no oversight of the manufacturing process.
In the last six months, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison control centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding products containing one or more of these chemicals. Thirty-seven states have already taken action to control or ban these or other synthetic stimulants.