Last month the Ohio State Highway Patrol partnered with the Ohio Strategic Analysis and Information Center (SAIC) to survey local police departments about their encounters with suspects under the influence of bath salts. Since its release last month, the survey has been circulated by law enforcement around the country, discussed online in forums by concerned police officers and has even begun to garner press attention for its disturbing reports of the effects of the designer drug, including superhuman strength and highly bizarre hallucinations that often result in violent behavior.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol Criminal Intelligence Unit recently partnered with the Ohio Strategic Analysis and Information Center (SAIC) and gathered information regarding bath salts via a survey. The objective of the study was to assist Law Enforcement by creating an officer safety awareness product relating to the dangers of encountering people on bath salts.
Marketed with harmless-sounding names such as Ivory Wave, Tranquility, and Blue Silk (among others), bath salts have become the newest trendy street drug. Comparable to methamphetamine, cocaine, and PCP, snorting bath salts can induce violent and aggressive behavior, which make users very dangerous to themselves and law enforcement. Authorities are caught in a rush to combat this dangerous trend, as bath salts are legal in most states. Bath salts are essentially drugs that are being labeled “bath salts.” Although they are marketed “not for human consumption,” they are being purchased with the intent to be snorted, injected, or smoked by abusers, sometimes causing extreme reactions such as hallucinations, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, agitation, and increased heart rate. Users have also experienced hypothermia, seizures, and delusions. None of the chemicals found in these salts are contained in legitimate bath salts sold by a reputable company.
Unregulated psychoactive substances marketed as “bath salts” are among the latest in a series of legal synthetic drugs that are being offered as alternatives to illegal drugs. Produced as legal substitutes for ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamines, salts are powerful stimulant drugs designed to avoid legal prosecution and are commonly available on the internet and specialty head shops. They can be made up of a variety of unregulated chemical substances and are being sold under a variety of names or brands. Open sources indicate that “bath salts” are becoming increasingly popular due to the perception that they pose seemingly safer alternative to illegal methods of getting “high” and can easily be obtained over the Internet. Concerns regarding the safety of these drugs have prompted many European countries to take measures to stop the imports and selling of these products within their borders. Recent seizures nationwide suggest these powdered salts are making inroads in the US, thus becoming narcotics of potential concern.
“Designer drugs,” substances that have been developed especially to avoid existing drug control measures, are becoming a major concern across the nation and in New Jersey. One widely publicized “designer drug,” mephedrone, has been reported in an increasing number of countries and regions, and many countries have placed it under national control.
Across the United States, synthetic stimulants that are sold as “bath salts” have become a serious drug abuse threat. These products are produced under a variety of faux brand names, and they are indirectly marketed as legal alternatives to cocaine, amphetamine, and Ecstasy (MDMA or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine). Poison control centers nationwide have received hundreds of calls related to the side-effects of, and overdoses
from, the use of these potent and unpredictable products. Numerous media reports have cited bath salt stimulant overdose incidents that have resulted in emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and severe psychotic episodes, some of which, have led to violent outbursts, self-inflicted wounds, and even suicides. A number of states have imposed emergency measures to ban bath salt stimulant products (or the chemicals in them) including Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, and West Virginia; and similar measures are pending in Hawaii, Kentucky, Michigan, and Mississippi. A prominent U.S. Senator has also recently proposed legislation that would ban the synthetic stimulant chemicals found in bath salt products at the federal level.