AG targets ‘bath salts’

A head shop in New Hartford is one of 16 stores across the state cited by the Attorney General’s Office for selling "bath salts" and other harmful synthetic drugs.

A dozen lawsuits have been filed claiming that the stores are in violation of the state’s product labeling laws.

Goodfellas Alternative Smoke Shop on Commercial Drive was named in one of the lawsuits. According to the Attorney General’s Office, bath salts and other synthetic drugs are not illegal because the manufacturers continuously change the chemical makeup, using new chemicals that have not yet been banned. So in order to stop them, the lawsuits are going after the packaging of the drugs, which use bright colors and quirky names like "Bizarro" or "Cali Crunch" in order to deceive consumers into thinking the products are not dangerous.

"The proliferation of illegal synthetic drugs has become a national crisis. In Syracuse and across the state, our undercover investigations have revealed the widespread sales and promotion of bath salts and other dangerous drugs that are destroying people’s lives," said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. The lawsuits were announced on Tuesday.

"We discovered that head shop employees were giving tutorials on how to use dangerous intoxicants. With today’s actions, we are fighting back to control this crisis, and ensure that the days of profiting off the illegal sale of these dangerous drugs are over."

Federal and state laws require that all consumer products, at a minimum, be labeled to describe its contents, the identity of the product and the name and place of the business of the product’s manufacturer, packer and distributor.

Along with Goodfellas Smoke Shop, the other stores are in Syracuse, Rochester, Watertown, Buffalo and elsewhere.