Police and hospitals across Maine report a sharp increase in the use of “bath salts.” The Northern New England Poison Control Center received 110 calls about bath salts—87 of them from Maine—between January and July, compared with just one call in 2010.
The Associated Press reports the state passed a bill last spring that makes bath salts illegal. However, problems with the synthetic drug continue. Bangor Police Sergeant Paul Edwards told the AP, “It just seems that we’ve gone from nothing to this rage, this outpouring of cases of people on bath salts.”
Karen Simone, Director of the Northern New England Poison Center, said bath salts can make people combative, causing potential danger to people in the community and to those in emergency departments who are trying to treat them. “One of our hospitals had to hire 24/7 security officers for its emergency department to deal with this so patients and families who were there for other reasons could feel safe,” she said.
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. The drugs have grown increasingly popular in the last year. They come in powder and crystal form, and are snorted, injected or smoked. The drugs can cause extreme paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, rapid heart rate, chest pain and suicidal thoughts.
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