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No 'Bath Salts' At Convenience Store Convention, Trade Group Warns Members

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WASHINGTON -- Vendors attending the National Association of Convenience Stores' trade show in Las Vegas next month should leave their synthetic drugs at home, according to a friendly reminder from the NACS director of sales.

"We just want to remind everyone that NACS does not permit the promotion or display of products at the show which are illegal for retailers to resell in their stores," writes Leigh Walls, director of Exhibit Sales and Services at NACS, in an upbeat note to sellers. "For example, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency has recently listed synthetic drugs, sold as 'bath salts' or 'spice' as illegal for sale. Consequently, such items are banned from our exhibition."

The annual NACS show, one of the top trade events in the country, will take place from Oct. 7 to Oct. 10. NACS spokesman Jeff Lenard doesn't anticipate any problems and was "not aware" of any companies selling bath salts at the conference last year. "They are illegal and there's no reason that we would allow that," he told HuffPost in an interview.

Not to be confused with luxury cleansing products, these so-called bath salts are not unlike a super-charged version of speed, evoking anything from "excited delirium" to violence and paranoia in users. The synthetic blend of chemicals -- mephedrone is often a key component -- is relatively inexpensive, and was at one point believed to have influenced Rudy Eugene's cannibalistic attack on a homeless man in Miami, though that theory was later disproved in autopsy reports.

"Please take a moment to make sure that all of your items comply with this policy," said Walls in his note about bath salts. "It will avoid unhappy moments at the show."

The DEA first moved to ban several of the ingredients in bath salts in September of 2011. Since then the number of bath salts-related incidents has dropped off dramatically, from 3,490 such calls in the last half of 2011 to 1,717 in the first half of 2012, according to the American Association of Poison Control.

"It is something that happened this last year," said Lenard of the ban, "and I think the idea is, like anything else, if there are changes [to the law] from the previous year, you want to state what they are."

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