Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen is taking his war against a synthetic drug being marketed as "Bath Salts" to the highest legal office in the state.
Late Friday afternoon, McKeithen sent a letter to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi expressing his urgent concerns and asking her to take action. This letter explains the sheriff's office and State Attorney Glenn Hess are working together on a civil injunction to stop the sale of the substance locally.
But they feel that's only a temporary solution since the product would be legal elsewhere. So, McKeithen is asking Bondi for an emergency statewide injunction to limit the sale of the so-called Bath Salts.
McKeithen recounts the experiences of local emergency room personnel, who say they've seen a sharp increase in the number of people suffering from physical and psychological symptoms from ingesting the white powder, containing the active ingredient M-D-P-V.
The psychoactive drug's effects can be 10-to-15 times more potent than meth and cocaine. "This is an issue. This is a problem and it's inevitable if it continues on the trail it’s on now that someone is going to die."
The Sheriff warns Bondi of a possible "perfect storm" scenario if the substance is still legal when 200 thousand young people arrive for Spring Break. He's urging her to take action prior to March.
There's also a possibility the Federal Food and Drug Administration could step-in, as it did last month when the agency banned the sale of so-called synthetic marijuana.