It is now illegal to possess, traffic, import or export MDPV, the drug commonly found in "bath salts,” the federal government announced Wednesday.

MDPV is now included in the same category in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act as heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine.

“This means all activities involving this substance are illegal, except for research and scientific activities, which must be authorized by regulation,” Health Canada said in a news release.

MDPV should not be confused with bath salts that are added to the bath and that can be purchased at drugstores and retailers.

"’Bath salts’ are powerful drugs that look like regular bath salts, but are used for the purpose of causing mind-altering effects,” Health Canada said.

MDPV, or methylenedioxypyrovalerone, is a synthetic amphetamine that delivers a powerful high. It is also known to cause dangerous side effects, such as violent hallucinations, fear and can lead to a feeling of paranoia.

The drug has earned the nickname "bath salts" because the finished product resembles scented epsom bath salts.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police called Wednesday's announcement of the ban “an important step in stopping organized criminal groups from acquiring and profiting from this illegal substance."

In the U.S., President Barack Obama signed a bill into law earlier this year that bans the sale, production and possession of more than two dozen of the most common ingredients found in bath salts.

But even with the bans, some health professionals have noted there are so many different varieties of the drug that lawmakers are merely playing catch-up to drug traffickers.

"The moment you start to regulate one of them, they'll come out with a variant that sometimes is even more potent," Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told The Associated Press in July.

With reports from The Associated Press