Bath salts surfacing as Augusta-area drug problem

Sunday, March 18, 2012 4:21 PM
Last updated Monday, March 19, 2012 1:04 AM
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A designer drug known as bath salts – because it resembles the bathing additive – is a nationwide problem beginning to appear in the area.



Charges were filed in June against the owner of Royal Tobacco on Belair Road after investigators found two products identified as bath salts and a synthetic marijuana known as spice. The store’s owner, Yan Zheng, and Jacques Poitra were charged with sale of a Schedule I drug.

The investigation began after the Columbia County Sher­iff’s Office received complaints that the store was selling tobacco products to underage children. Around the same time, a teen flipped a vehicle on Wash­ing­ton Road and ejected one of his passengers. In his vehicle, officers found spice, which the driver said he had bought from Royal Tobac­co, Investigator Johnny Mc­Donald Jr. said.

Bath salts are not as easy to find on the streets because there isn’t a field test kit. How­ever, Dr. Hany Elia, the medical director at Serenity Behavior Health Systems, said there has been an increase in patients treated for the drug.

Bath salts are legally sold in stores as a research chemical or plant fertilizer “not for human consumption.” The drug can mimic the effects of cocaine, LSD, MDMA and methamphetamine. Users typically snort, inject or smoke the drug, which is sold legally online and
in drug paraphernalia stores under names such as “Red Dove,” “Zoom” and “Scar­face.”

The drug was first recognized in Germany in 2007 and surfaced in the United States in 2010.

In the first few months of 2011, poison control centers had already reached the caseload seen for all of 2010.

In October, the Drug En­forcement Agency released an order to make three of the chemicals used to produce bath salts illegal.

Gloria Downey, the nurse manager at Crisis Interven­tion Unit at Serenity, said the unit has seen at least three known bath salts cases. The users are usually in their teens to early 20s and show extreme signs of delusion and paranoia.

“It is very, very bad when they are using it,” Downey said. “The few we’ve had don’t really realize how out of it they are when they’re going through it.”

Even at Serenity, doctors cannot identify users of bath salts and have to rely
on the truthfulness of the user.

Little is known about the long-term effects of the drug, but researchers say some cases have already proven deadly.

In January, Dr. Russell Russo, a third-year orthopedic surgery resident at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, published a study on a 34-year-old woman who had to have her arm, shoulder and collarbone removed and a radial mastectomy after she injected bath salts into her arm at a party. The injection produced a flesh-eating bacteria that progressed so rapidly doctors were forced to amputate.

Other studies show injections can produce a potentially life-threatening
reaction to too much serotonin.

“There is no telling what the long-term effects are going to be because these are pretty rough chemicals people are putting into their bodies,” said Richmond Coun­ty sheriff’s Sgt. Allan Rollins.

Law enforcement is seeing more new designer drugs on the market. Rollins compared problems with bath salts to spice.

One year ago, the DEA categorized five synthetic chemicals used to make spice as Sche­dule I drugs. However, spice can still be found legally in stores as new forms of the chemicals replace the illegal ones.

“All they do is change the formula a little so that those aren’t the exact same chemicals anymore,” Rollins said. “There has been a proliferation of literally hundreds of new brands coming out that aren’t controlled substances.”

Investigators said the popularity of spice, which also does not have a field test kit, exceeds bath salts.

“We’ve heard that bath salts are out there on the streets,” McDonald said. “They’re just not talked about as much as spice. We run across that almost weekly.”

Comments (22) Add comment
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Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 03/18/12 - 04:19 pm
0
0
All the issues I've mentioned

All the issues I've mentioned in the past eventually surface in local news.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 03/18/12 - 04:21 pm
0
0
Spice is not detected in the

Spice is not detected in the usual drug tests...

allhans
24456
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allhans 03/18/12 - 05:12 pm
7
3
Weakness requires a crutch.

Weakness requires a crutch. Those who are unable to handle life will use any means of escape.

double_standard
166
Points
double_standard 03/18/12 - 05:55 pm
1
14
Bath salts, Spice, Shake and

Bath salts, Spice, Shake and Bake Meth will all be treated with a slap on the wrist. The only reason this is a story is because these drugs are used by lil white kids.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 03/18/12 - 06:27 pm
8
0
...used by black kids too.

...used by black kids too. Never make assumptions about what being used in the streets. Spice is also popular with military because it goes undetected in drug tests.

proudgunowner
148
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proudgunowner 03/18/12 - 06:45 pm
0
0
"which is sold legally online
Unpublished

"which is sold legally online and in drug paraphernalia stores".....So, the feds can tell me what kind of light bulb I have to use, what kind of toilet I must have in my home, that I HAVE to buy health insurance or face penalties, that I have to have a license to exercise my Constitutional right to carry a gun, that I have to pass a test and wear a helmet for my motorcycle, but this drug can be purchased legally?????? WAKE UP AMERICA!!!

debbiep38
441
Points
debbiep38 03/18/12 - 07:35 pm
5
0
Double_Standard, but not big
Unpublished

Double_Standard, but not big white kids?

blues550
380
Points
blues550 03/18/12 - 10:37 pm
0
0
Gotta admire the creative
Unpublished

Gotta admire the creative spirit in druggies.

Cdr4500
20
Points
Cdr4500 03/18/12 - 11:41 pm
3
0
They do not need to be
Unpublished

They do not need to be banned. People just need to do their research and not be idiots with the stuff.

The government should have absolutely no right to tell us what we can and can't put into our own bodies.

If people want to use these things, fine. As long as they are legal adults them let them! Whose business is it as long as youre not causing harm to anyone else?

If the media and people like you would stop making such a big deal about these things, then kids wouldnt have any idea about them. After this stuff gets in the media, the sales of them always skyrocket. All you are doing is making the people who make these things richer, then they make more products, in turn doing the exact opposite of what you set out to do.

Cdr4500
20
Points
Cdr4500 03/18/12 - 11:43 pm
4
0
Banning or making drugs
Unpublished

Banning or making drugs illegal is what got us to this point in the first place. If drugs like Marijuana, Opium, Mushrooms were legal there would be no demand for these much more dangerous synthetic drugs. And when this one is banned and it will be soon. They already have a new formula to take it's place.

Drugs can be bad, but you can't legislate good behavior. Leave it up to the individual how to run their lives.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 03/19/12 - 05:21 am
5
2
"study on a 34-year-old woman

"study on a 34-year-old woman who had to have her arm, shoulder and collarbone removed and a radial mastectomy after she injected bath salts into her arm at a party. The injection produced a flesh-eating bacteria that progressed so rapidly doctors were forced to amputate.

Other studies show injections can produce a potentially life-threatening
reaction to too much serotonin."

Also caused paranoia and delusions......

I believe from reading some comments above that it appears to decrease brains cells and logical thinking also.

nanowerx
1359
Points
nanowerx 03/19/12 - 06:19 am
7
1
I hate to be "that guy," but

I hate to be "that guy," but if they just legalized pot already then you wouldn't have problems with horrible synthetic versions of it that are actually harmful. Just something to think about.

As far as the bath salt thing goes, if somebody needs that bigger high, then they are going to find it somewhere, be it ingesting bath salts, huffing paint, even drinking gasoline. The problem is never going to be solved, only moved on to something else. We really need more focus on treatment programs rather than automatic jail time with no rehabilitation....so they just get out and go hurt themselves more.

walrus4ever
354
Points
walrus4ever 03/19/12 - 06:48 am
4
2
Cdr says its folks on

Cdr says its folks on business what they put into their own bodies but I disagree. My wife works in an ER in upstate SC where this stuff has been on the street for months. Its a constant drain on the hospital and the taxpayers to treat these fools. At least once a week out of control people wander in or are brought in by LEs who have to physically battle them to maintain control. When my taxes pay for treatment it IS my business.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 03/19/12 - 06:50 am
1
4
Sure, if they legalize pot,

Sure, if they legalize pot, then even MORE teens will be sitting out in the woods by their local high school, cutting class, getting high, instead of getting educated - and at least it will be legal. Major improvement indeed.

nanowerx
1359
Points
nanowerx 03/19/12 - 06:58 am
3
1
Patty-P...is that what the

Patty-P...is that what the teens constantly do with legal, available Alcohol? Haven't heard about a big epidemic of that. When I was a teenager, it was easier to get pot than alcohol BECUASE it was illegal. It was very tough to find alcohol because there aren't many people selling it black-market-style since its available in stores. Don't live your life in "worst-case-scenario" land...it is a scary place.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 03/19/12 - 08:00 am
0
0
nanowerx.....teens have

nanowerx.....teens have access to alcohol too. Some go to school intoxicated. Couldn't find anything on it because, of course, these things go unreported.

fiveobike1
65
Points
fiveobike1 03/19/12 - 08:16 am
3
0
I just want to know what kind

I just want to know what kind of person comes up with this in the first place, you know, the very first user..... How bored can you be to go.. hmmmm i'm out of Marijuana.. no more meth... i kow lets snort some bath salts!!!!!!!!

allhans
24456
Points
allhans 03/19/12 - 08:17 am
3
3
I have said this

I have said this before..Every pot smoker I have known, and that is more than a few, stayed zoned out most of the time. The most noticeable thing is that these folks would now be in their 50's but most are no longer with us. For one reason or another, they seem to die young.

Granddaddy John
101
Points
Granddaddy John 03/19/12 - 08:24 am
0
0
Why don't just suck a bullet
Unpublished

Why don't just suck a bullet up there noise and be done with it.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 03/19/12 - 08:30 am
1
0
double_standard your daily
Unpublished

double_standard your daily racism is nauseating.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 03/19/12 - 08:38 am
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Patty P, where are your posts
Unpublished

Patty P, where are your posts to banning alcohol for all? Link please, thanks. =)

RoadkiII
6796
Points
RoadkiII 03/19/12 - 09:40 am
4
1
allhans, I'm still around, in

allhans, I'm still around, in my 50's, and most of the people I smoked with are too.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 03/19/12 - 08:45 am
1
0
allhans, then the pot smokers
Unpublished

allhans, then the pot smokers you knew didn't do "just pot" and had issues other than the occasional social enjoyment of a natural herb. Your summation is basically like saying everyone who moderately drinks alcohol will get cirrhosis and are non functioning alcoholics. Maybe the problem wasn't the herb, but the type of people you knew. I'll bet there are tons of people you know that partake, but just don't tell you and you have no clue at all because they are responsible with it.

allhans
24456
Points
allhans 03/19/12 - 08:47 am
1
0
RK..Sorry to hear that.

RK..Sorry to hear that. (-:
Not that you are still around but that you are a smoker. My younger sister was just found with a spot on her lungs...she loves to smoke, started in middle school.

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 03/19/12 - 09:15 am
0
3
You are exactly right

You are exactly right allhans. I was always the one telling others of the dangers of marijuana, and they all laughed and bragged on their "drug". Like you said, "most are no longer with us".

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 03/19/12 - 09:21 am
2
0
If people want drugs or want

If people want drugs or want to try drugs they are going to do it whether it is legal or not. I do agree that making pot legal may make it not as appealing, most young people want to do things that they know they can't do, as for the adults that is another story. I would be so afraid of using this crap on the streets.......and it has been said over and over that you can be addicted to crack and meth from the first time you try it, so why would you want to take that chance? Maybe peer pressure is what makes a lot of our youth so stupid....trying to fit in. But hey, it is a me me me world we live in now, this is where we have come and being a baby boomer we are to blame for a lot of it.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 03/19/12 - 09:25 am
0
0
Wow 2 fellow posters hung
Unpublished

Wow 2 fellow posters hung around with the few rare people, out of millions of partakers, who supposedly smoked themselves to death with pot halfway through life. Horrible luck!

RoadkiII
6796
Points
RoadkiII 03/19/12 - 09:38 am
0
0
I haven't used pot in years

I haven't used pot in years allhans

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 03/19/12 - 01:08 pm
0
1
allhans is right....most

allhans is right....most people that I know that smoke weed smoke it everyday, and are zoned out for several hours out of the day. For teens, it is very disruptive in the learning process, and since Augusta seems to have a proliferent weed problem that goes unchecked, we CAN'T wonder why many of them are GIVEN a diploma and barely know 6th grade math and English. It's not that we just happen to have so many graduates that aren't 'meant' to go to college, they lost touch with that opportunity while smoking weed in the woods from 10th to 12th grade.

twolane
191
Points
twolane 03/19/12 - 01:32 pm
0
0
patty its called no child
Unpublished

patty its called no child left behind its not the dope.....i know people that smoked and now they are engineers and doctors and therapists or the now dead steve jobs.....reefer madness is still around i see...lol.....and ive had friends come up with spots on their lungs and never smoked a thing...just had a 38 year old friend die from lung cancer he ran 5 miles a day

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