MONTREAL — Canada said it was moving to ban the main substance used to make "bath salts" -- the drug linked to a grisly attack in the United States in which a man almost killed another by chewing his face.
The drug -- which as its name suggests resembles regular bath salts in texture -- can spark an often aggressive, chaotic experience for users, including intense hallucinations.
Key to the production of the illegal drug is a synthetic stimulant known as MDPV that, under new regulations expected to take effect within months, will become illegal to produce, own, deal, export or import in Canada.
"This action helps give law enforcement the tools they need to keep our streets and communities safe from this new and emerging drug that ruins lives and causes havoc in communities across the country," Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said in a statement announcing the pending ban.
Reports have suggested that a nude assailant who gnawed the face of a homeless man in the US city of Miami last month was likely under the influence of "bath salts."
The white powder -- which can be inhaled, injected or smoked -- is often billed as legal by websites that sell it. Sometimes, it is marketed as ecstasy, according to federal Canadian police official Mike Cabana.
"We applaud the federal government for their quick response in recognizing the extreme dangers of the 'bath salts'," Cabana said.
Canadian authorities have noted a recent rise in the use of "bath salts" in provinces along the country's Atlantic coast. In Nova Scotia, police have seized "bath salts" mixed with cannabis.