Designer drugs marketed as bath salts have been receiving much attention
in the media lately. Not intended for soaking in the bath, these white,
powdery drugs contain powerful stimulants that produce a high similar
to meth when smoked, snorted or injected. While some states have declared these
drugs illegal, Maryland is not one of them.
The bath salts are sold in certain retail stores and over the Internet.
They are packaged with names such as Ivory Wave, Purple Wave, Vanilla
Sky and Bliss. While the names are peaceful, the drugs are believed to
be dangerous. These drugs can cause some users to experience hallucinations,
paranoia, violence, delusions and even suicidal thoughts.
The bath salts contain synthetic stimulant MDPV and mephedrone, chemicals
which are not controlled by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
nor approved for human consumption by the Food and Drug Administration.
The chemicals mimic the effects of cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD and meth.
The drugs are apparently so toxic that many users call poison control centers
for help. Across the country, poison control centers have received 373
calls this year, up from 291 calls last year. However, Maryland Poison
Control Center has only received two calls in connection with the bath
salts this year. Maryland authorities believe this means the bath salts
are not widely sold in our state.
At this point, Maryland has not experienced a considerable problem with
the bath salts. However, Wicomico County’s Drug Task Force, a law
enforcement unit composed of members from the Maryland State Police, Sheriff’s
Office, Salisbury Police Department and Fruitland Police department, is
preparing for the drugs to appear in the region. However, it is important
to understand that as of now, these substances are not illegal in Maryland.
Currently, the DEA is collaborating with health officials to study data
about the stimulants in the bath salts. Congress has drafted a bill that
would add the chemicals found in the bath salts to the list of federally
controlled substances. We will likely see more about this drug in the
months to come.