There’s a new synthetic substance drawing concern from law enforcement officials across the country, including South Carolina. Those who use the compound call it “bath salts,” but as Drug Enforcement Agency spokeswoman Barbara Carreno explains, such a name is misleading– they have no connection whatsoever to bath cleaning products.
These are not things you could go to Bath & Body Works and pick up and put in your tub. Nobody who buys them or sells them thinks that. It’s something that they are referred to in order to mask their true purpose.
“Bath salts” are actually a form of hallucinogenic drug that have surfaced along the East Coast in the past few months. It’s created by using different compounds that give a person feelings similar to using either “ecstasy” or cocaine. However, unlike those drugs, “bath salts” are currently legal to buy and sell in the United States. Given such names as “Ivory Wave” or “Purple Wave,” Carreno says they are often sold online as “plant food” to hide the drug’s true nature from authorities.
Although sales are currently legal, Carreno warns the drug is also extremely dangerous.
We’re seeing violent reactions by people who use these. People are having heart attacks and strokes because they experience tachycardia, where their heart races too fast. There (have) been quite a few calls just in the last few months to the poison control centers around the country.
The drug is the latest attempt by entrepreneurial manufacturers to get around the country’s controlled substances laws. Federal and local authorities began cracking down on the sale of ingredients used to make synthetic marijuana in November. Probably not coincidently, “plant food” and “bath salt” use began rising soon afterward.
While the use of bath salts in South Carolina is rare right now, at least one legislator wants to nip things in the bud. Rep. Anne Thayer (R-Anderson) has sponsored a bill that would ban the sale of bath salts. However, the legislation is not scheduled to receive any hearings or debates.
Carreno says part of the drug’s appeal among youth is that it does not appear in drug tests– handy for those in the military or business world whose failure could end their careers.
Carreno wants people to know that the drug is dangerous, however, as its creators did not do any medical research to determine its long-term effects.
There are a lot of young people who assume something is safe if it’s not illegal. But that’s not the case with these. Whenever you use something that you don’t know anything about, you’re taking a chance.
“Bath salts” are currently banned in six states: Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and North Dakota.