Sunday, June 19, 2011
Bath Salts - Outside the Tub
Snow White, Vanilla Sky, Red Dove, White Lightning, Hurricane Charlie -- new drinks at the local bar? No, these are bath salts. And no, not bath salts for soaking in a tub, but potentially deadly combinations of chemicals such as mephedrone and MDPV intended to be snorted, smoked, or injected. Bath salts are the most recent substances abused and labeled designer drugs that are fast becoming an international epidemic.
These so-called bath salts are intended to be snorted, smoked or injected. Cathinone, the parent substance of the drugs, comes from a plant grown in Africa. They produce hallucinations and physical manifestations that can be fatal. Doctors have reported some people who have taken bath salts experience paranoia for weeks after the initial dose.
Particularly appealing to teens and young adults because they are easy and inexpensive to obtain, these products are becoming a growing problem here in Ohio.
In Ohio, bath salts are sold for up to $80 each (On example - a small plastic container with 500 milligrams costs $20 in Muskingum County.) The salts come in plastic bags the size of tea bags and in canisters the size of a quarter. The package of the substance actually has a label that reads "not for human consumption."
The Drug Enforcement Administration does not regulate bath salts, but they are under federal scrutiny, as the effects of these salts are comparable to methamphetamine abuse, according to poison control centers and other law enforcement agencies. So, right now it's legal to sell, buy and use the products, and bath salts have even being marketed on the Internet as legal cocaine substitutes.
Until we get some teeth, our abilities are pretty limited," said Ohio Special Agent Scott Duff, who runs the meth unit for the Bureau of Criminal Investigations."It's kind of unfortunate that this stuff can continue to be marketed as bath salts, knowing full well that the people marketing this stuff and peddling this stuff know what folks, mainly kids, are doing with this stuff."
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found bath salts skate around existing laws by including that warning that they are not for consumption.
"Classes of designer drugs like 'bath salts' are intended to have pharmacological effects similar to controlled substances but to be chemically distinct from them, thus avoiding legal control," according to the CDC study.
(Rick Rouan,"Ohio Legislation Would Make Bath Salts With MDPV Illegal," Mansfield News Journal, May 23 2011)
ONN's Lot Tan reported bath salts emergency room visits and poison center calls are increasing in Ohio. Three people in Montgomery County died recently after using bath salts.
"I had found 60 cases in about a month and a half," said Cindy Jennings, a registered nurse with Miami Valley Hospital. Jennings has spoken at seminars about the dangers of bath salts. She said her child first told her about the drug. "I have a 13 year old. When I started investigating this, I asked him directly, he goes, 'oh yea, we've heard of those, mom.' He knew about it before I did," Jennings said. ("Use of 'Bath Salts' On the Rise In Ohio," Ohio News Network, June 17 2011)
Ohio Legislature and Bath Salts
Ohio lawmakers are attempting to join at least 10 other states in banning the substances. Bills to ban six derivatives of cathinone have been proposed in both chambers of the Ohio legislature.
Attorney General Mike DeWine applauded the efforts of State Rep. Clayton Luckie, D-Dayton, on the bill he introduced to make certain chemicals found in bath salts a Schedule I controlled substance under Ohio law. ("DeWine Applauds Bill to Make Bath Salts a Controlled Substance," www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov, March 1 2011)
"Ingesting bath salts is a new way for people to get the same kind of high as they would from doing cocaine. Bath salts are far too easy to buy and the after effects can be deadly," said DeWine. "I am committed to working with Rep. Luckie to help pass this legislation to get these bath salts out of the marketplace."
"By banning the addictive substances in bath salts, this is just one more measure to ensure that our young people will not be harmed by products that are so easily and readily available," added Rep. Luckie.
There will always be a designer drug of the moment. Entrepreneurs constantly monitor the trends in street drugs and exploit these demands in order to brand and sell new products. Bath salts -- pretty unbelievable? Believe it. What will the be the designer drug of tomorrow? We must deal with the root causes of drug use through education, prevention, intervention, and treatment to stop this crazy drive for designer drugs.
CBS News on Bath Salts: