Bath salts used as drug worry cops
"Inmate says high is similar to that of cocaine. Police say there is nothing they can do. By Edward Lewis firstname.lastname@example.org Staff Writer
KINGSTON – A police officer was patrolling the streets when he encountered a man yelling into his hand a few weeks ago.
When the officer stopped his cruiser and asked what was going on, the man started screaming profanities at a tree.
“We found out he was high on bath salts and hadn’t slept in three days,” said an undercover drug detective. “He thought he was arguing with someone on a cell phone.”
Bath salts are the most recent concern among law enforcement officers in the area. Their greatest worry is that buying bath salts is legal, even for a juvenile.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, bath salts are synthetic stimulants that contain various amphetamine-like chemicals. Being under the influence of bath salts is similar to cocaine, said a Luzerne County inmate who requested anonymity.
The 32-year-old inmate from Wilkes-Barre, interviewed in front of several Kingston police officers and before a preliminary hearing in front of District Judge Paul Roberts last week, said the effects of bath salts is “10 times” greater than cocaine.
“It’s your speed and cocaine and it’s 10 times better,” the inmate said. “That stuff is really addictive.”
Long addicted to opiates, the inmate said he started using bath salts about six months ago when he spotted packages of the items at the checkout counter in a Kingston store.
“I asked the lady, ‘What is this?’ and she just smiled saying it is good (expletive),” the inmate said. “I liked it a lot and I wanted it every day after that.”
The undercover detective said bath salts sell for $30 to $40 for a half-gram, and is marketed by special names such as Ivory Wave, Vanilla Sky or Purple Wave. Though packages may have a warning sign that says “Not for Human Consumption,” the detective said the synthetic stimulant is either smoked, snorted or injected.
“We can’t detain anybody if they’re under the influence of this stuff, because it’s legal,” the detective said.
Adverse effects of bath salts, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, include extreme paranoia, hallucinations, rapid heart rate, suicidal thoughts, disorientation, insomnia and kidney failure to name just several.
The detective said juveniles on probation can legally take bath salts and pass a drug urine test.
“It’s not illegal, but they get the same high from taking this stuff,” the detective said.
The state House Judiciary Committee recently passed House Bill 567 that would make synthetic bath salts illegal to possess and sell. The bill is now in the full House for consideration."
Crime Free Wilkes-Barre and I posted about these a few weeks ago.