ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - On Monday, drugs like bath salts, K-2 and salvia were officially made illegal throughout the state of
Governor Tom Corbett signed the ban into law two months ago and Monday marked the end of the mandatory 60 day waiting period.
But while bath salts may now be banned, new, legal, yet very similar alternatives have already been created to take their place.
On the same day bath salts and other synthetic drugs are banned a whole new batch of synthetic drugs are getting ready to roll out and take their place on store shelves.
"There is always going to be somebody out there that is going to come up with something to make a buck."
When a product is profitable someone is going to find a way to sell it.
When bath salts were legal, they were a gold mine for the stores who chose to stock it.
"There is always going to be somebody out there that is going to come up with something to make a buck," says a worker at a local novelty store who asked not to be identified.
The clerk says that while her store never sold bath salts, marketed under brand names like Blizzard, Ivory Snow, and White Lighting, the shops that did made some serious cash off the psychoactive stimulant that gives users a meth-like high.
Some small shops, the clerk says, would pull in as much as $20,000 per day from the sale bath salts alone.
"There is big money," says Phillip Harchack, a retired Pennsylvania State Police officer and current law enforcement drug educator.
"A lot of these companies who were holding these products before they became illegal had a lot of money invested in them. All you have to do is tweak one or two molecules in there and you now have a new drug that's very similar in chemical properties," Harchack says.
Lawmakers acted fast to ban the dangerous, highly addictive synthetic drugs. Now they say they're ready to take on whatever chemical threat comes next.
"The drug world is constantly changing. Constantly changing drugs," says Randy Feathers of the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation.
"They're always trying to get ahead of the law and we always seem to be chasing them. I've been in this business 30 years and product after product keeps coming out. That's the nature of the game and we're always ready for it."
Feather's says previous injunctions in Blair and
But Feather's admits bath salts have already become a major problem, rivaling that of heroin and cocaine.
The only real way to beat bath salts, he says, is through education and keeping people from using the drug in the first place.