|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Sunday, 04 September 2011 00:00|
Just because something is legal doesn’t make it safe.
A recent arrest highlighted that local law enforcement has become increasingly concerned with use of a legal stimulant known as “bath salts.”
The substance isn’t used for bathing; rather, it’s an artificial stimulant that is legally sold over the counter in various smoke shops and other stores.
The powder substance, sold in foil packages or vials, is technically known as mephedrone or MDPV, an abbreviation for methylenedioxypyrovalerone.
The substance can be snorted through the nose, smoked, swallowed when it’s in pill form or mixed in a solution and injected with a syringe. The powder is white or off-white.
The stimulant is sold under a wide variety of brand names like “Ivory Wave” and “Vanilla Sky,” among others.
Lynette Scarry, a 33-year-old Meyer resident, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs following a traffic stop in Prescott on Aug. 17. A deputy found bath salts in her possession. She was booked into the Yavapai County Detention Center in Camp Verde on a $3,000 bond.
According to Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Dwight D’Evelyn, law enforcement is seeing more cases involving abuse of bath salts across the state, including cases where people have been hospitalized. The American Association of Poison Control Centers recorded 251 calls concerning abuse of the product in January alone. That was up from the 236 calls recorded throughout all of 2010.
The substance increases the heart rate and can lead to paranoia and panic, according to the sheriff’s office. The effects can mirror those of other illegal substances like methamphetamine and cocaine. Reduced motor control and nausea are also among the reported side effects.
Bath salts may not be legal in Arizona for much longer.
“Remember, just because it’s currently legal doesn’t make it safe,” D’Evelyn wrote. “A bill is pending in the Arizona State Legislature which would define the chemicals contained in ‘bath salts’ as a dangerous drug.”
Arizona isn’t alone. A report released earlier this year from the Office of National Drug Control Policy stated that several communities and governments across the nation were taking a look into bath salts and drafting rules and legislation against the use and possession of the active ingredients. Those governments include Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, Louisiana, Kentucky and North Dakota.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, law enforcement believes most of the chemicals in bath salts are produced in China and India and distributed for wholesale in Eastern Europe.
It’s not clear how widespread abuse of this legal stimulant is, but law enforcement reports suggest it is certainly on the rise.
“I am deeply concerned about the distribution, sale and use of synthetic stimulants, especially those that are marketed as legal substances,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of national drug control policy in a statement released to the press. “Although we lack sufficient data to understand exactly how prevalent the use of these stimulants are, we know they pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of young people and anyone who may use them. At a time when drug use in America is increasing, the marketing and sale of these poisons as ‘bath salts’ is both unacceptable and dangerous.”
Other known names for the product include Bliss, Blue Silk, Cloud Nine, Drone, Energy-1, Lunar Wave, Meow Meow, Ocean Burst, Pure Ivory, Purple Bliss, Red Dove, Snow Leopard, Stardust, White Dove, White Knight and White Lightning.
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