Deadly 'bath salts' legal high banned across EU

The European Union banned Thursday the party drug nicknamed "bath salts" and other so-called legal highs that have been linked to nearly 150 deaths.

The synthetic stimulant MPDV can spark a psychotic experience for users and was linked to a grisly attack in the United States in which a man chewed off another's face.

Ministers agreed to make it illegal across the 28-nation EU to manufacture or sell four .

They are MDPV; Methoxetamine, which is similar to the dance drug ketamine; synthetic opiate AH-7921; and 25I-NBOMe, a hallucinogenic with effects similar to those of LSD.

"These drugs are like wolves in sheep's clothing," said Martine Reicherts, the EU's Justice Commissioner.

"The ban voted on today will give them the criminal status they deserve. Legal highs are not legal: they are lethal."

Member states have one year to vote legislation implementing the ban, the European Commission said.

The EU's drugs agency said there had been 108 deaths across the region that were linked to MPDV—full name 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone—with most of the fatalities in Finland, Britain and Sweden.

The white powder can be inhaled, injected or smoked and resembles regular bath salts in texture.

Twenty deaths had been linked to Methoxetamine, 15 with AH-7921 and four with 25I-NBOMe, it said.

The EU banned the drug "meow-meow", or mephedrone, in 2010 over similar concerns.

Canada has banned MDPV while President Barack Obama's drug czar has warned of the dangers of "" and other amphetamine-like substances.

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© 2014 AFP

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