The law enforcement group has been alarmed of the influx of highly hallucinogenic and potentially lethal drugs sold legally in most states, and these come in the form of bath salts.
Director Mark Ryan of the Louisiana Poison Center confirmed that in the first month of 2011, an estimated 248 bath salts-linked calls from 25 different states have been received by authorities. This figure is indeed a cause for alarm. Comparing data to last year, only 234 calls were made in the whole of 2010.
Investigators have uncovered the circulation of $20 packets sold in corner stores, truck stops, and even on the Internet. They are marketed as bath salts or at times plant food that carries disclaimers such as “not for human consumption” and with no regulating body or rules applied on these substances. The problem is that these chemicals contain stimulants, including mephedrone.
Jeffrey Baldwin, professor of pharmacy practice and pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha has this to say on mephedrone: “It’s a derivative that’s very similar to amphetamines, and its side effects are largely the same side effects we see with amphetamines in large dose. Those side effects would be increased heart rate and blood pressure, not sleeping, not eating and eventually becoming paranoid.”
The “bath salts” have acquired brand names like Ivory Wave and Vanilla Sky which is typically smoked, injected, snorted, and can be mixed in water or other liquids as beverage. “If you take the very worst of some of the other drugs — LSD and Ecstasy with their hallucinogenic-delusional type properties, PCP with extreme agitation, superhuman strength and combativeness, as well as the stimulant properties of cocaine and meth — if you take all the worst of those and put them all together this is what you get. It’s ugly.” added Director Ryan.