Alcohol and Drugs News on the Internet

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Synthetic drugs such as “bath salts,” “K2” and “Spice” are becoming increasingly popular in Minneapolis/St. Paul, a new survey reveals. The Minnesota Department of Human Services found that these drugs, sold in head shops and online, are especially attractive to young people.

“These are no longer rare, isolated incidents,” Carol Falkowski, Drug Abuse Strategy Officer for the Department of Human Services, and author of the report, told KARE11. “A pattern of use is emerging with synthetic drugs.” She said young people are attracted to the drugs because they produce extreme effects. “Many young people think that if something is purchased on the Internet, it is somehow safe. Nothing could be further from the truth,” she added.

The Minnesota report also found for the first time in 10 years, addiction treatment admissions for heroin and other opioids did not rise last year. Deaths from these drugs dropped from 113 in 2009 to 92 in 2010.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers says poison control centers received 3,470 calls about bath salts nationwide during the first six months of this year, a jump from 303 calls in all of 2010.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill last week that would ban bath salts. The bill would make two chemicals in bath salts, mephedrone and MDPV, illegal to possess or sell. Both chemicals would be added to the list of controlled Schedule I substances.

Bath salts are sold in convenience stores or head shops, and are also available online. They are sold under names such as Vanilla Sky and Ivory Wave. Bath salts have grown increasingly popular in the last year. Emergency rooms are seeing a growing number of people high on the drugs. They come in powder and crystal form, and are snorted, injected or smoked.

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