Bath salts, a synthetic drug linked to episodes of bizarre behavior including a report of cannibalism in Miami, have not been seen in Southeast Arkansas, according to 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen and Lt. Jason Akers, supervising agent of the 10th Judicial District Drug Task Force.
Arkansas banned bath salts in 2011. Here, it’s listed as a Schedule I drug meaning it has no medicinal value, Akers said.
Deen said he has not filed any charges related to the possession, use, manufacture or distribution of bath salts.
Though he hasn’t come across it in Southeast Arkansas, Akers said he has talked to law enforcement officers in other areas of the state that have encountered individuals using bath salts.
These are not your “Calgon Take Me Away” or rock-like salts sold at Bath and Body Works, these are hallucinogenic drugs that have been linked to very disturbing behavior.
“In one incident a pretty decent guy had started using it and began stealing and exhibiting odd behavior,” Akers said, explaining that a law enforcement officer had contacted him to inquire if he knew of any treatment center that treated individuals addicted to bath salts.
Around the country bath salts are becoming widely known for the bizarre, dangerous effects they are creating:
While the toxicology test results for the Miami man who was shot and killed by a police officer after he was found chewing the face of a homeless man haven’t been released, some have theorized that he was under the influence of bath salts.
Akers said bath salts are composed of two synthetic compounds, mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), related to the khat plant, a popular stimulant in Arab and East African countries.
While the drugs’ active compounds were placed on an emergency ban by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in September, the drug can still be found online, in head shops, and some ‘mom and pop’ convenience stores or gas stations, under names like Ivory Wave, Bliss, Vanilla Sky, and Plant Food, and generally labeled “not for human consumption.”
Bath salts and synthetic marijuana are among the worst substances poison control centers have encountered, according to a February news release from the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
“The psychosis seen in some users is truly remarkable, in a very scary way,” said Mark Ryan, director of the Louisiana Poison Control Center. “People high on these drugs have done some bizarre things to themselves and hurt others around them. It’s important that parents and young people understand just how dangerous these synthetic drugs are.”
Though the Miami case certainly grabbed the nation’s attention, Akers says there is no epidemic of bath salts-crazed, flesh-eating zombies in the United States. He attributed the widespread interest in the stories to current pop culture and the fascination with zombie movies, videos and popular television programs like Walking Dead.