Alabama is missing from the short list of states proactively addressing a serious epidemic. Hawaii, Michigan, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Florida and North Dakota are considering legislation to ban “bath salts,” a dangerous, legal synthetic drug overtaking the nation. More to the point, it is overtaking Alabama. The longer Alabama law makers wait, the greater the hold this synthetic drug will have on our young people. Because the ingredients in bath salts are legal, drug tests do not indicate use.
Six months ago I received a call from someone with the Mississippi Drug Court Conference warning me of this new legal alternative to meth and cocaine. I asked several law enforcement agencies in Alabama, as well as drug counselors, if they were familiar with this “legal drug.” No one had heard of “bath salts.” Within the week I made a trip to a local smoke shop and purchased ½ gram of bath salts. Since first hearing of this drug, I have seen it on several occasions on the news in Alabama, and local juvenile courts and drug counselors are reporting teen usage.
Bath salts can be easily found in 1 gram and ½ gram quantities (ranging in cost from $30 to $100) in gas stations, smoke shops and tattoo parlors all across the state. The drugs come in powder and tablet form and are ingested by snorting, injection and smoking. The ingredient is believed to be MDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone) pronounced METH-uh-leen-di-OX-ee-PY-ro-VAL-uh-rone. This is expected to produce effects similar to the hallucinogenic-amphetamines, but presently human experience is limited. Clinical effects reported include, agitation, confusion, hallucinations, hypertension, and tachycardia. Duration of effect may be prolonged (12 to 24 hours). MDPV is sold under various names: Blue Silk, Bolivian Bath, Charge plus, Cloud 9, Hurricane Charlie, Ivory Snow, Ivory Wave, Ocean, Ocean Burst, Pure Ivory, Purple Wave, Red Dove, Scarface, Snow Leopard, Stardust (Star Dust), Vanilla Sky, White Dove, White Knight, White Lightning.
· Jarrod Moody, the youngest son of John and Joyce Moody had turned his life around and his future looked bright and hopeful. With the support of his parents he had triumphed over a prescription drug addiction and secured a steady job. After a time, the Moodys began to notice a change in Jarrod, one they had recognized from experience. "He wasn't eating. He was going from being totally off the wall and sick and not feeling well to being way over the top," John Moody told reporters. On Friday, October 1, 2010, Jarrod went to his father and said his last words, “Dad, I love you” as he walked out the door. That was the last time his parents saw him alive. Police reports state Jarrod committed suicide early the next morning. His father found several small packets packaged as Ivory Wave bath salts in Jarrod's room. Jarrod's friends came forward and explained Jarrod had recently developed an addiction to bath salts. The chemical Methylene Dioxy Pyrovalerone (MDPV) found in bath salts, was reportedly in Jarrod’s system during his autopsy.
· Julie Sanders, an emergency room doctor in Covington, LA, said her stepson, 21-year-old Dickie Sanders, shot and killed himself three days after sniffing "Cloud 9" — one of the names MDPV is sold under.
· A St. Louis mother said her daughter was admitted to the bio-behavioral unit at a local hospital after her mother found her hallucinating and out of control after snorting bath salts. The woman described how her daughter babbled nonsense and flailed her arms around. The woman told a local news reporter "She was just bouncing off the walls.”
· In Wichita, Kansas, 21-year-old Elijah Taylor was hit by a car and later died of his injuries, after he ran into the southbound lanes of Interstate Highway 135. Blue Magic Bath Salts were found on Taylor.
· From the end of September 2010 to January 1, 2011, Louisiana Poison Control has received 165 calls from people in crisis after snorting, smoking or injecting these dangerous substances.
Signs and Symptoms of Methylenedioxypyrovalerone or MDPV
Evidence shows that MDPV has amphetamine-like or cocaine-type effects, depending on the dosage and usage. It can be taken in different approaches – snorted, smoked, wrapped in cigarette papers and dissolved, or injected intravenously. The side effects have a duration that can last from 3-4 hours, up to 6-8 hours depending on the dosage ingested. Users often report to feel compelled to continue re-dosing, but often lose interest in taking it quickly because of the unpleasant side effects caused by higher doses. Among the signs and symptoms of this drug includes:
Physical Health Risks
Mental Health Risks
In total, there are six chemicals to be considered added to the list of Schedule I drugs;
By adding these chemicals to the controlled dangerous substance act as Schedule I drugs, the possession, manufacturing or distribution of these drugs would carry penalties similar to those of heroin. This would be a heavy deterrent to anyone tempted to try this new experience.
If we act now, we have the power to get Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) removed from the shelves and easy accessibility before Alabama has its own tragic “bath salt” story to tell. We can prevent MDPV from becoming as widespread as cocaine and meth. We can, but only if we act NOW.