Spending the evening in the tub with soft music and a glass of wine isn’t exactly on the minds of people buying a new product labeled as bath salts. That's because these popular salts are not baths salts at all. They are a designer, synthetic drug that deliberately mimics the effects of drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, or meth. And like cocaine and meth, this powdery substance is snorted, smoked, inhaled or eaten.
Several new proposals have hit the books in order to ban these salts as soon as possible. There have been hundreds of instances of serious injury or death as a result of people using this product and authorities want it removed from convenience stores, head shops and online companies immediately. Currently, it’s very easy to buy online; no questions are asked other than how much is wanted and what credit card will be used. The problem authorities are running into is that older drug laws have not caught up with new ways to sell illegal drugs. This drug is also sold as plant food.
Users of this drug experience an intense high and a feeling of euphoria, until the drug wears off and more is needed to continue the cycle. But like all street drugs, the side effects are severe. People have been hospitalized with panic attacks, heart attacks, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations and stroke. Some are lucky enough to leave the hospital after treatment, others are not.
The Today Show covered the story of Dickie Sanders, a talented BMX rider who ended up hospitalized from slitting his own throat in front of his parents. Doctors had never heard of the drug before. Four days after surviving his suicide attempt, Sanders shot himself to death in his bedroom. He was found by his parents. A Mississippi man, Neil Brown, did something similar – slitting his face and stomach repeatedly. Luckily, he survived.
Increasing drastically in popularity, there were almost 250 emergency calls in January, 2011 due to use of this drug. There were fewer calls than that for the entire year of 2010. Police in Florida have warned sellers that as of next week, selling this drug is a felony. Other states are following suit.