Designer drug bath salt use on the rise

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - It's on the rise in the Heartland: bad trips from bath salts.

Back in January Heartland News reported about the new designer drug that masquerades as cocaine.  At that time we couldn't find any in our Heartland stores.  Police now say, that's definitely changed.

"Oh yeah they are here in the Cape Girardeau area," said Sgt. Kevin Glaser with the SEMO Drug Task Force.

What's more, emergency room nurses at our local hospital want you to know these drugs are deadly. They say they've seen a number of patients with severe reactions in just the last two weeks.

"It's possible they could be fatal," said Southeast Missouri Hospital Nurse Practitioner, Angela Selzer. "It is also not an enjoyable experience. They can cause paranoia and hallucinations. We've seen five patients here in the last couple of weeks."

Selzer says all of the patients admitted to using bath salts.

"They are young, healthy adults that decided they wanted to experience something new and they all come to the same conclusion that they don't ever want to do this again," said Selzer.

While the drugs are deadly, they're still legal.  So drug investigators are working harder than ever to get the so called bath salts off the streets.  The designer drug usually shows up in tattoo parlors or convenience stores.

A few months ago our Heartland News crew couldn't find any. Wednesday it hardly took any time at all to find the product in several local stores.

"They are on the rise in southeast Missouri and across the state," said Sgt. Glaser. "By labeling these as bath salts they skirt around federal regulations and they circumvent the whole system. "

The packages run between $20 and $50 for as little as half a gram. Sgt. Glaser says that should tip off the average customer these are no ordinary bath salts.

Sgt. Glaser says while they are legal for now, stores should be concerned about liability issues with some many people turning up in hospitals after using the salts. There is legislation on Governor Nixon's desk that could ban the so called bath salts in Missouri. Representatives from his office tell us the bill is up for review this week and they expect a decision soon.

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