New drug plagues America

"I ain't eaten in over a week now, it’s hard to breathe."

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(Photo: Associated Press)

The man in this youtube video is claiming to be suffering some of the effects of a dangerous new drug.

It comes in a little baggie and has poison control centers nationwide very concerned.

It’s marketed as “bath salts” and is sold under names like Ivory Wave or Bliss.

But at $25 a pop, that powder isn’t going into the bath tub. It’s used to get high.

In fact, some are calling these salts “new Ecstasy.”

“They can be pretty dangerous and I don't think we know the full extent of how dangerous they are yet,” said Dr. Cathleen Clancy, associate medical director at the National Capitol Poison Center.

She said what’s in the powder is similar to amphetamines and can have effects similar to cocaine. People become agitated. Their blood pressure becomes really high. They can have seizures and hallucinations. The high can last for days.

Bath salts emerged last summer. By the end of the year, 236 calls were logged by poison controls centers. In just the first month of 2011, a least 251 cases have been cited.

Some users are as young as 14. In the D.C. region, at least two people have landed in the hospital after using bath salts.

“The child is essentially putting his life at risk and his future at risk by using substances like this,” said Dr. James Orlowski, a pediatrician.

ABC7 ordered Ivory Wave bath salts online – there are plenty of sites offering it. Some other bath salts were purchased at a smoke shop in Florida.

Experts say bath salts are still legal because the law hasn’t caught up with the new drug.

But in the last month, Louisiana and Florida became the first states to ban bath salts. Other states are considering similar action.

When asked how dangerous bath salts are if it really catches on, Clancy replied: “I would say it’s probably an eight if it really catches on.”

 

The following is a statement from the White House drug czar on bath salts:

Washington, D.C. – Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, released the following statement following recent reports indicating the emerging threat of synthetic stimulants, including MDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone) and mephedrone. These stimulants are often sold and marketed in stores as “bath salts” under names such as “Ivory Wave” or “Purple Wave.”

“I am deeply concerned about the distribution, sale, and use of synthetic stimulants – especially those that are marketed as legal substances. Although we lack sufficient data to understand exactly how prevalent the use of these stimulants are, we know they pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of young people and anyone who may use them. At a time when drug use in America is increasing, the marketing and sale of these poisons as “bath salts” is both unacceptable and dangerous. As public health officials work to address this emerging threat, I ask that parents and other adult influencers act immediately to discuss with young people the severe harm that can be caused by the use of both legal and illegal drugs and to prevent drug use before it starts.”

Recent information from poison control centers indicates that abuse of these unlicensed and unregulated drugs is growing across the country. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 251 calls related to “bath salts” to poison control centers so far this year.

This number already exceeds the 236 calls received by poison control centers for all of 2010. Doctors and clinicians at U.S. poison centers have indicated that ingesting “bath salts,” containing synthetic stimulants, can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and delusions.

Already, several states have introduced legislation to ban these products, including Hawaii, Michigan, Louisiana, Kentucky, and North Dakota. Several counties, cities, and local municipalities have also taken action to ban these products.

Director Kerlikowske also cited three steps parents can take today to protect young people:

1. Talk to your kids about drugs. Research shows parents are the best messengers to deliver critical information on drug use. Make sure they know of the harms that can result from drug use and that you don't approve of them. For tips and parenting advice visit www.TheAntiDrug.com.

2. Learn to spot risk factors that can lead to drug use. Association with drug-abusing peers is often the most immediate risk factor that can lead young people to drug use and delinquent behavior. Other risk factors include poor classroom behavior or social skills and academic failure. Parents can protect their kids from these influences by building strong bonds with their children, staying involved in their lives, and setting clear limits and consistent enforcement of discipline.

For more information on National efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences visit: www.WhiteHouseDrugPolicy.gov

The Office of National Drug Control Policy seeks to foster healthy individuals and safe communities by effectively leading the Nation’s effort to reduce drug use and its consequences.

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