For your FYI . . . just another thing to be concerned about.
By Matt Getts
AUBURN — One physician describes the new drug as high-potency methamphetamine, with effects that can be permanent.
More troubling yet, it can be purchased legally in Indiana.
Auburn Police officers have run into two cases during the last two weeks involving men under the influence of products sold as “bath salts,” which are in reality synthesized drugs containing mephedrone and MDPV. The drugs have the same effect on the body as methamphetamine and cocaine, according to police and physicians.
A similar incident was reported in Steuben County.
These are not traditional bath salts. Sold at gas stations and tobacco shops with product names such as “Ivory Snow,” “Bliss” and “Vanilla Sky,” all contain MDPV or mephedrone, synthesized stimulants that can cause rapid heart rates, seizures and hallucinations.
“It’s a super-high-potency form of methamphetamine,” said Dr. Gary Davis, an emergency physician at DeKalb Memorial Hospital in Auburn. “The scariest thing for me is: The effects can be irreversible.”
Theoretically, a person could try the drug once and end up institutionalized, Davis said.
According to Davis, the drug also can cause a PCP-like burst of strength.
Police were able to obtain a 500 mg container sold under the label “Q Concentrated Bath Salts” that was purchased at an Angola retailer for $40. One of the two patients treated at DeKalb Memorial Hospital said he had purchased an energy drink supplement in Butler sold by the name “Ricky Bobby.”
The drug can be snorted or mixed with a beverage, according to police.
On Feb. 28, Auburn Police responded to an unruly 31-year-old man at a city apartment complex who reportedly had ingested “bath salts.” The man had kicked open five doors with his bare feet, splintering wood framing, according to Auburn Police Chief Martin McCoy.
McCoy said the man claimed to be looking for his children. They were not at the apartment complex.
Monday, Auburn Police were called to DeKalb Memorial Hospital to assist with an unruly patient. That man also had used bath salts.
“Both these guys were just out of it,” McCoy said. “This is similar to cocaine or methamphetamine.”
Steuben County Sheriff Tim Troyer described a recent case in which a user “went ballistic, and was ultimately placed in 72-hour detention for mental evaluation. He appeared to be completely out of his mind due to a bad reaction to bath salts. He admitted to using them.”
Davis talked with the emergency doctor who dealt with one of the patients who had ingested “bath salts.” The doctor told Davis the patient was “extremely anxious, extremely agitated,” as well as delusional, paranoid and violent. Doctors had trouble treating the man.“None of the typical medicines we used were helping this guy,” Davis said.
The drug has caught the attention of police in LaGrange County. According to Sheriff Terry Martin, someone could try it for the first time and never fully recover. “It could affect them mentally the rest of their life,” Martin said.
Use appears to be on the rise nationwide, according to a CBS News broadcast report. It stated there were no reports of “bath salt” usage in 2009. In 2010, there were 236 reports, but that grew to 248 reports in the nation in January of this year.
The comparison to methamphetamine has law enforcement concerned. “It’s a lot cheaper, and it’s legal to purchase,” Troyer said. “The worst drug on the planet, and somebody’s figured a way to synthesize it.”
Angola Police Department Detective Tim Crooks said his department has found the drug on the street, but hasn’t had any violent encounters with users.
Kendallville Police Chief Rob Wiley and Noble County Sheriff Doug Harp said their departments had not run into the drug yet, either.
Law enforcement officers expressed concern with the new trend of designer drugs. The first such drug to rise to prominence was “K2” or “Spice,” a marijuana-like substance that now has been banned in Indiana. Unfortunately, substitute varieties of K2 that can be sold legally already are on the street .
Crooks said his department recently sent a synthetic substance to be tested at the Indiana State Police laboratory. The substance was returned because it had been altered enough that it did not fall under the statewide K2 ban.
Manufacturers of these substances are creating new ones as fast as the old ones are outlawed.
“It’s really frustrating,” Crooks said about the law. “All they have to do is change one little component, and it no longer applies.”
McCoy agreed. “It’s never going to end,” he said. “They change the chemical compound just a little bit.”