Ingesting Bath Salts is stupid. Real stupid. This is not just a prohibition message…it’s fact. Galveston, Texas police say emergency personnel were not able to revive a man, found with bath salts, who had been shouting incoherently in the middle of a street as traffic passed around him. Police responded around 10 p.m. to a disturbance in the 800 block of 21st Street Saturday. The man was standing the roadway and officers were able to move him from the street after a brief struggle, authorities said. EMS was called to the scene because officers believed he was showing signs of excited delirium. The man stopped breathing at the scene and medical personnel could not revive him. Officers found bath salts in the man’s possession and said that his behavior was consistent with the use of that drug.
Bath salts may be behind the deadly meltdown of an upstate New York woman suspected of beating her 3-year-old son before cops used a stun gun to subdue her, according to reports. Following the Tuesday night incident, Munnsville mom Pamela McCarthy later died at a hospital after going into cardiac arrest from the effects of the Tasing, reported ABC affiliate WSYR-TV in Syracuse. Officials said they encountered a “violently combative” suspect and were initially unable to handcuff her.
On May 26, Miami police shot and killed a homeless man who was allegedly feasting on the face of another homeless man in a daylight attack on a busy highway. Before now-infamous “face-eating cannibal” Randy Eugene was stopped by four police bullets, say authorities, he had gnawed the face of victim Ronald Poppo down to his goatee. “The forehead was just bone,” said a witness. “No nose, no mouth.” Police said that Eugene, 31, who had ripped off his clothes and refused police orders to stop eating Poppo’s flesh, showed behavior consistent with ingesting the synthetic cocaine substitute known as bath salts. Bath salts have been connected to a range of violent incidents and a spike in emergency room visits since they became popular several years ago. Last fall, the Drug Enforcement Administration banned three chemicals used in bath salts, and 38 states have enacted their own bans, but incidents continue. People who are rushed to the ER on bath salts or other synthetic drugs often are combative and extremely agitated. Mugele said synthetics are known to cause flare-ups of psychoses, which could be a reason for particularly erratic behavior.
Indiana police raided six convenience stores last week after a months-long investigation into the trafficking of bath salts, a designer drug that’s been ruled illegal — twice — in the state. The raid’s resulted in several arrests in Muncie as cops crack down on a new state ban on the drug, The Star Press reported. Police say they’ve fielded numerous calls recently from the public about store owners selling bath salts, in some cases to adolescents. An investigation into one store in Yorktown allegedly found that a local high schooler had taken the drug, which has chemical effects similar to stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine. The teen behaved “erratically” on campus, cops told the paper.
The paper also reported several other recent arrests involving bath salts, which may have led to the raids:
- A Muncie man who had reportedly ingested bath salts on March 18 held a knife to his roommate’s throat and demanded that she “get out of his house,” police reported.
- A local mother arrested March 7 as she walked with her children in the 200 block of East Gilbert was reportedly so impacted by her recent ingestion of bath salts that she was unable to provide accurate information concerning her youngsters’ names and dates of birth.
The state banned the sale of bath salts in July 2011, but needed to institute additional legislation this year after manufacturers changed the chemicals to make the synthetic drug technically legal to sell, WIBC reported in March. The new ban includes provisions to keep the drugs out of stores regardless of their specific formula. It’s not the first time Indiana police have made arrests in the sale of the easily accesible chemicals. Late last year, two southern Indiana businesses, including the Happy Timez Smoke Shop, allegedly sold bath salts under the name “Zoom 2,” according to KFVS.
The drug is relatively new, but it is gaining popularity and notoriety. In 2010, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 303 bath salt-related calls to its centers. In 2011, that number jumped to 5,833. In Indianapolis, the Indiana Poison Center reported 427 cases of bath salt exposures from August 2010 through April. But the truth is, it’s impossible to accurately track usage. The synthetic drug contains varying chemical compounds that are undetectable in drug screens. Doctors can identify the symptoms of someone who has ingested bath salts, but the only way they’re certain is if the person admits to it.
More certain is the danger. Bath salts can produce hallucinations, increased heart rate and, in extreme instances, almost incomprehensible behavior. “Bath salts are similar to methamphetamines,” said Josh Mugele, an emergency room resident with Indiana University Health. “People get wacky. There’s no telling what might happen.” Child neglect, violence — even cannibalism — have been linked to people high on the drug. People who are rushed to the ER on bath salts or other synthetic drugs often are combative and extremely agitated. Mugele said synthetics are known to cause flare-ups of psychoses, which could be a reason for particularly erratic behavior.