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The street drug known as bath salts, which contains the now-illegal hallucinogenic ingredient MDPV, are often packaged to look like regular epsom salts products.

Police in Miramichi say they've made their first confirmed seizure of MDPV, the key ingredient in a new, highly addictive street drug known as bath salts.

Sgt. Jody White received laboratory results this week showing some pills seized in July contained methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV).

The substance was not illegal at the time of the seizure, but the law has since changed.

Under new federal rules announced Wednesday by Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, MDPV is illegal to possess, traffic, import or export, unless authorized by regulation.

It is now designated under Schedule 1 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act – the same category as heroin and cocaine.

The white, powdery MDPV is used to create bath salts, which can reportedly cause hallucinations, paranoia and violent behaviour in some cases. 

'It's concerning to me because of the unpredictability of the people that are on bath salts.'— Sgt. Jody White, Miramichi Police

A number of police agencies across Canada have issued warnings in recent months about the synthetic drug spreading north from the United States.  

"I know that Rothesay and some different areas had seized some bath salts before, but I was quite surprised that it did turn up here," said White.  

"It's concerning to me because of the unpredictability of the people that are on bath salts ... They exhibit bizarre behaviour and can be very dangerous."

The drugs were discovered when a patrol officer pulled over a vehicle on an unrelated matter, said White.

When the man was arrested and searched, the officer found the drugs.

"It was in a pill formation as opposed to a powder form and this individual had them on him--actually tried to ingest them before the police could seize them, he said.

The fact that the drug was found in pill form, instead of the usual powder form, is particularly concerning because people could take it unknowingly, White said.

Although the man will not be charged under the new MDPV law since it only took effect after the pills were seized, the pills also contained another controlled substance - Benzylpiperazine (BZP).

Charges are pending, said White.