Print Bath salts becoming big problem
Written by Greg Ruland   
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 00:00

It’s the variety of toxic chemicals and erratic potency in designer drugs that makes them so dangerous to consume but also keeps them one step ahead of the law, according to Verde Valley Fire District paramedic and MATForce speaker Ivan Anderson.

Bath_salts_at_CMS__11-16.jpg_1Chemical dependency therapists, county officials, health care providers and teenagers filled meeting rooms in Cottonwood and Prescott on Thursday, Nov. 10, to hear Anderson’s lecture on synthetic and designer drugs, “The Search for New Highs,” hosted by MATForce.

Anderson explained the chemical makeup and potential health hazards presented by bath salts, spice, Ecstasy, and a new synthetic opium, krokodil.

A year or two from now, he conceded, the discussion will be about new designer concoctions, sometimes with new names, often bearing the same brand but an altered formula not prohibited by law.

Bath salts suspected at Cottonwood school

While drug dependency experts conferred Thursday, Nov. 10, about confronting the spread of designer drugs like bath salts, five Cottonwood sixth-graders reportedly conducted their own bath salts experiment and ended up at Verde Valley Medical Center.
Five unidentified boys were transported from Cottonwood Middle School to VVMC for observation after fellow students reported the boys were ingesting an unknown substance, probably bath salts, in a school bathroom Thursday morning.
Students reported the boys first to Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District Safety Officer Del Munday, who called Cottonwood Fire Department to the scene.
Bath salts packaging was retrieved from the boys bathroom but has not been tested, according to Cottonwood Police Department spokesman Sgt. Gareth Braxton.
“With kids of that age, it could be something completely different. It could be nothing at all,” Braxton said.
“I’m very proud of those kids for being brave enough to step up,” Cottonwood Middle School Principal Denise Kennedy said, referring to the students who contacted Munday.
Bath salts and spice are outlawed but are still available in some head shops and on the black market, according to MATForce spokesman Ivan Anderson.
Yavapai County Attorney’s Office declined to charge anyone in the incident, Braxton said.

Michele Bradley
Larson Newspapers

Multiple trips without adverse physical effects does not protect the user from a final, fatal dose, because the chemicals used in one batch may be very different from those used in another. The body’s response to the altered formulas range from euphoria to agitated paranoia to death, Anderson said.

Coming down from bath salts can take four days or more, he said.

People experiencing a bath salts high become very violent and often present a danger to themselves and others. When called to treat someone who has ingested bath salts, Anderson said paramedics usually don’t carry enough sedatives with them to calm the patient down.

Calming them with sedatives usually becomes a high priority that protects both the patients and those trying to help them from injury, Anderson said.

Agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, suicide, high blood pressure and increased pulse are all symptoms of a bath salts high.

“Basically, you’re poisoning yourself where you’re ingesting this stuff,” Anderson said.

Reports from emergency rooms in Prescott and Cottonwood indicate designer drug use is on the rise locally. Ecstasy overdoses, for example, are beginning to show up at local hospitals again. Popular in the 1980s and 1990s, Ecstasy appears to be making a comeback, he said.

Krokodil is a synthetic opium that causes harsh addictions nearly impossible to overcome. Very popular in Russia and Europe, it is just showing up now in Texas and is likely to spread to the Verde Valley at some point, Anderson warned.