Bath salts are the new drug of choice

Rick Combs
In January, our office began receiving information about the sale and use of a new drug intentionally misbranded and being sold as “bath salts” to mask its sole purpose as a recreational drug.

These “bath salts” contain an active ingredient known as methylenedioxypyrovalerone or MDPV and can be snorted, swallowed, smoked, or injected. Once ingested, the drug affects the central nervous system and can trigger the same effects and has the same serious health dangers as cocaine, methamphetamine, or ecstasy.

Research on the drug indicated extreme highs and rushes followed by paranoid behavior and bizarre hallucinations.

Across the country bath salts have been linked to unpredictable and aggressive behavior leading to arrests and in some cases serious injury.

In Clermont County, police officers and deputies have experienced eighteen incidents where the use of bath salts was a factor; one such case involved a police officer being assaulted and sustaining a minor injury.

These synthetic drugs originated in the European club scene and their use is picking up steam here in the United States.  They are currently legal and sold under brand names like Bliss, Blizzard, Blue Silk, Bolivian, Cloud Nine, Ivory Snow, Ivory Wave, Lunar Wave and many others. They can be purchased in convenience stores, across the internet and other shops in the United States; generally sold in 50 milligram plastic or foil packets ranging in price from $25 – $75.

Recreational use of salt stimulants containing MDPV has been outlawed in fifteen states thus far, and Ohio has its own version of a law (HB 127) currently ratified by both houses and awaiting the Governor’s signature.

The United States Congress and Senate have introduced bills and are setting up committee hearings to regulate these harmful products due to health risks. It is important to note not all “bath salts” present a risk to general health and behavior.

Those intended for soaking in bath water for a relaxing effect not containing MDPV continue to be safe and sold without concern of poison control centers nationally.

The Clermont County Narcotics Unit has been actively engaged in combating this newest form of drug abuse, recently raiding five local commercial shops in the county and seizing bath salts containing MDPV with plans to present cases to the grand jury sometime soon.

Identifying someone under the influences of a bath salt look for rapid heart rate, varying degrees of paranoia, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts or aggressive behavior. It is important to

Rick Combs is the Chief Deputy of Criminal Operations with the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office. seek medical attention immediately for any one suspected of taken any size dose of a bath salt.