Over the last twelve months, the "designer" drug known as bath salts has taken off in this area. If you're not familiar with the name, it's not the flowery-smelling stuff Mom soaked in, nor the Epsom-branded stuff Aunt Joanne soaks her feet in. It's a way for the makers to try to skirt laws.
They label a package with a name like "Purple Wave" or "Vanilla Sky" or umpty-odd other names that sound like '60s garage bands then stamp it "NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION". They're sold over-the-counter in many states, although quite a few have made them illegal.
The drug is cheap - a quick look-around online shows pricing around $20-30 for a half gram, which is (according to more quick looking) 25-100 doses. Think about that for a minute. A half of a gram is enough drug for twenty-five doses.
It can be ingested, inhaled, injected, or smoked - and according to what I'm hearing from the street, the same varietal will provide a different high depending on how it's used.
Sounds great, right? (I mean, if you're into such things. I'm not.) One slight problem. The list of side effects in that link above. Tachycardia. Insomnia. Headache. Kidney Pain. Agitation. Paranoia. Psychotic delusion. Suicidal thoughts/actions. Addiction. Psychosis. Etc, etc, etc.
On a near-daily basis, we're running into people who are having psychotic or delusional breaks from reality thanks to these drugs. They hallucinate people trying to kill them. They believe their clothes are on fire. They try to harm themselves. They will do bizarre things - like strip naked and walk out into a blizzard. They'll attack friends, family, and complete strangers. They're running from imaginary threats - and out into traffic. They're accusing imaginary people of trying to kill them - and fighting back.
I'm hearing that standard progression-of-force isn't working so well; verbal commands are a non-starter, spray is often ineffective, tasers are generally fine if you can get both probes in (but drive-stun is near worthless), and regardless of what else is going on these people seem to be a bit stronger than they should be.
Unless there's an immediate threat, officers are generally not approaching potential bath salts users without two or three officers present - because they're usually going to end up going hands-on.
Got that? Hallucinating, extra-strong, and standard less-lethal methods aren't working so well. Pyschotic breaks, agitation/aggressiveness, and all the rest.
Now the best part: this stuff can cause flashbacks, similar to LSD users having "trips" that were not induced by recent usage.
I don't get the appeal of ANY of this, truth be told. But it's out there, and you sure as hell need to be aware of it.
4 months ago