Calgon, Take Me Away…In Cuffs

By Donel DeFreese 03/28/11
Image: 
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Oh-so pretty designer drugs.
Photo via blog.evokeelegance

State governments continue to make every effort to ban…bath salts. As desperate druggies recently discovered, these bath salts produce a high akin to speed or cocaine—when everything goes right. Others describe the high as a cross between amphetamine and Ecstasy, but results are, of course, entirely unpredictable. Sold under such names as Ivory Wave and Vanilla Sky, the $20 to $45 packets of snortable crystals can be purchased in corner stores, truck stops and on the Internet. Most of the US supply is imported from China, where a WIld West of drug manufacturing prevails. Dealers skirt DEA scrutiny by marketing the product as bath salts or plant food, emblazoning the label with the disclaimer "not for human consumption." The powder containes mephedrone, a designer stimulant recently placed under federal scrutiny. It’s chemically similar to the African drug khat. In late February, after White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske decried the dangers of the quasi-legal synthetic drugs, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced an emergency ban on mephedrone, following a similar ban recently enacted in Nebraska. North Carolina recently joined in with similar legislation. Physicians who have treated patients on bath salts typically describe them as confused and paranoid, suffering from high blood pressure, flushing, and dizziness. Kind of like how'd you feel if you spent a day in a swelteringly hot bath?

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