STATEWIDE

U.S. DEA temporarily bans three chemicals in bath salts

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has temporarily banned three major components of bath salts, a dangerous synthetic drug that surfaced in Maine earlier this year.

Possessing or selling the drug, which is also called monkey dust, Rave-on and Kryptonite, is now a felony across the country, the DEA said on its website Friday.

The DEA announced a month ago that it planned to invoke its emergency authority to temporarily ban mephedrone, Methylone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, known as MDPV, in response to the “growing use of and interest in synthetic stimulants sold under the guise of bath salts.”

Use of the drug has led to numerous instances of psychotic and paranoid behavior and is linked to at least one death in Maine.

The temporary ban will be in effect for at least one year while the DEA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled.

Bath salts are now designated as a Schedule 1 drug, the most restrictive category under the Controlled Substances Act, in the same class as heroin and LSD.

Thirty-three states, including Maine, have banned mephedrone, MDPV and similar synthetic drugs, but some states had still allowed them to be purchased online and at drug paraphernalia shops and convenience stores.

AUGUSTA

Occupy Augusta donates to governor’s food drive

People of different political beliefs went to the Blaine House on Saturday afternoon to give to a common cause: Maine’s hungry.

Even the political group Occupy Augusta, which has about 30 people camping a stone’s throw from the governor’s home, stopped by for Gov. Paul LePage’s food drive.

The group, which is protesting corporate greed and excessive individual wealth, among other things, receives food donations from supporters. As of Saturday it had too much food, so members contributed some nonperishable items to the food drive.

“Politics aside, we want to make sure people who need food get it,” said Occupy Augusta member Paul McCarrier of Rockland.

LePage came out to help group members unload the food, and they took the opportunity to tell the governor why they are protesting. After one member read the group’s beliefs off a note card, LePage nodded.

“Some of the points you bring up I agree with,” LePage said. For instance, he said, he agreed that U.S. jobs shouldn’t be shipped overseas.

“Thank you all,” he told the group as he shook each member’s hand before heading back inside.

The food drive will continue for two more Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 29 and Nov. 5. The food then will be given to homeless shelters.

Expert expects deer harvest in state to be small this year

The state’s chief deer biologist says this year’s deer hunt should result in a small harvest.

Lee Kantar of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife estimated that hunters will bag fewer than 17,000 deer in the upcoming firearms season, which runs from Oct. 29 to Nov. 26.

Kantar told the Bangor Daily News that the state reduced the number of any-deer permits this year to boost the deer population following the harsh winters of 2008 and 2009. Only 26,390 any-deer permits were issued this year, down from more than 48,000 last year.

Hunters last year killed about 20,000 deer, while the 2009 harvest of 18,092 deer was the smallest in decades.

— From news service reports