Harrisburg, May 10, 2011—-State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana today said he is pleased with the Senate’s unanimous passage of legislation that would ban the possession, use and sale of so-called bath salts, salvia divinorum and synthetic marijuana.

Senate Bill 1006, which Fontana co-sponsored, would add these highly dangerous synthetic drugs to Schedule I of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. Under the law, Schedule 1 drugs are considered to have “a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.” The state penalty for possession with intent to deliver a Schedule 1 drug is up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

“These synthetic drugs can be purchased cheaply, and result in violent and deadly episodes,” Fontana said. “I am pleased with today’s action, and will urge my House colleagues to act swiftly.”

Fontana said the synthetic substances are used as an alternative to cocaine and cause dangerous side effects such as extreme paranoia, hallucinations and disorientation, all of which can lead to extreme violent behavior. Nationally, poison control centers have reported more than 1,200 calls through March, up more than four times the calls for all of 2010.

He said the drugs, which are often harmlessly packaged as bath salts or incense, can be purchased for as little as $10.

Senate Bill 1006 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.