Drug abuse experts and law enforcement officers are growing increasingly concerned about hallucinogenic drugs that are being sold as "bath salts" at convenience stores, truck stops and online. Although a few states have banned these products, they are legally available in many states. In January of 2011, approximately 248 emergency calls have been made regarding improperly used bath salts, compared to 234 calls throughout the entirety of 2010.
Charles Schumer, a New York Senator, has called for a national ban on these dangerous products. Gil Kerlikowske, the White House Drug Czar, echoed these concerns in an official statement.
Despite the fact that these "bath salts" have already been banned in Louisiana, residents are circumventing the ban by placing orders for the products online and then shipping them to Mississippi where they're ultimately picked up.
The bath salts themselves cost approximately $20 for a packet, and they are sometimes marketed as plant food. Though the packets are marked as "not for human consumption," some individuals are ingesting the products, which contain extremely dangerous chemicals, including mephedrone. The effects derived from using the bath salts are similar to those of powerful amphetamines, including increased blood pressure and heart rate, insomnia, loss of appetite, psychosis and paranoia. Drug experts are comparing the bath salts to a combination of PCP, LSD, Ecstasy, cocaine and crystal meth.
These dangerous products have been linked to suicide and self-mutilation, and they were found in the bloodstream of an individual who killed a sheriff's deputy in Tippah County, Mississippi.
Regardless of how these products are labeled, they are being marketed as drug alternatives and they can cause harm when ingested. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dangerous product, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights under the law.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "Hallucinogens Legally Sold as 'Bath Salts' a New Threat," Amanda Gardner, 2/4/2011