Pubdate: Sat, 19 Mar 2011 Source: Wausau Daily Herald (WI) Copyright: 2011 Wausau Daily Herald Contact: http://drugsense.org/url/zFWcSrzy Website: http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1321 Author: Jeff Starck SYNTHETIC DRUG, 'BATH SALTS,' SCARY TO LOCAL SUBSTANCE ABUSERS, EXPERT SAYS A dangerously powerful new synthetic drug growing in popularity across the U.S. has local substance abusers admitting they want nothing to do with the drug, according to a local expert. A chemical compound sold as "bath salts" are now are being abused to get a powerful high. The chemical stimulants in the bath salts can cause hallucinations, as well as chest pains, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, extreme paranoia and delusions when inhaled, smoked or injected. The American Association of Poison Control Centers said bath salts are touted as a substitute for cocaine and create intense cravings similar to methamphetamine. Media reports across the country tell stories of people who killed others or injured themselves while under the influence of bath salts. Actual bath salts used by people in bathtubs are usually marble-shaped, made of oil and makes soap suds in water, said Robert Block, who retired last week as the state's top drug recognition expert at the state Crime Lab in Madison. The bath salts being abused are a dry chemical powder like cocaine and do not make suds, he said. Sue Nowak, a drug abuse specialist who works with teenagers throughout central and northern Wisconsin for the Wausau-based Premier Recovery Services, said bath salts' reputation has scared off many from trying the substance. "Kids ... don't want anything to do with it," Nowak said. The only known contact local police have had with someone who was under the influence of bath salts was March 7 in Wausau. Police responded to a 911 call at a home on the 600 block of Fifth Avenue, where a 28-year-old woman admitted snorting bath salts and threatening her husband with a knife and breaking his cell phone, according to a police report. Police have heard reports of bath salts abuse in the community, but they have not caught anyone using the product, said Marathon County Sheriff's Lt. Gary Schneck, who supervises the county's drug investigation unit. Like other synthetic marijuana products such as K2, spice and salvia, bath salts often are sold legally in grocery stores, gas stations and gift shops with names such as Vanilla Sky, White Rush and Ivory Wave. Block said he worked with Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, to draft legislation that is pending to ban synthetic marijuana and bath salts. "It has no medical use and is not meant for human consumption," Block said of bath salts. Poison centers nationwide took 469 calls in the first 45 days of 2011 about bath salts, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Poison centers took just 292 calls in 2010, the association said. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.