Police warn parents of bath salt drugs

Police are warning parents that bath salts are a dangerous drug that teens are snorting and stores can sell legally.

August 10, 2011 12:26:03 AM PDT
A dangerous new drug is starting to show up in the East Bay. It looks like a product you might add to your bath, but it's caused extreme cases of paranoia, hallucinations and even death. It's a risky product that is perfectly legal.

They're called bath salts, but police say they have little to do with soaking in a warm tub and more to do with snorting for a quick high. The drug that became big on the East Coast is now creeping its way to the East Bay, including Livermore.

"So we wanted to get that out to the public and let them know, let parents know so they can look and make sure their children aren't being involved in that," said Livermore Police Officer David Blake.

Police believe the so-called bath salts contain synthetic compounds that have a similar chemical structure to the illegal substances ecstasy and methamphetamine.

Health experts say snorting the salts can cause increased blood pressure and heart rate, hallucinations and difficulty breathing. Poison control centers have received nearly 4,000 emergency calls nationwide and deaths have been reported.

The product is advertised on the Facebook page of the Livermore Smoke Shop. Manager Mike Patel told ABC7 he sold one sample a few months ago for $12.99 and tried to get more from a distributor.

"I tried to get it so many times, but they say 'We have run out, we have run out," said Patel.

Patel says people still come into his shop asking for the bath salts.

"I heard somebody told me it's not good, I heard that from somebody, so I don't carry it anymore," said Patel.

The bath salts are packaged under names like Zoom, Bloom, White Lightning, Scarface and Hurricane Charlie. Tanya Soto of Livermore will now be having a chat with her teenage son.

"I'll research it with him, we'll do it together and he can see. I like to show him the effects of things and what could happen," said Soto.

Police in Livermore and elsewhere can't do much to stop the sale of co-called bath salts. While it's banned in other states, it's still perfectly legal in California. However, police may be paying a visit to local shops to educate the owners about the dangers of bath salts.

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