Exclusive video shows what bath salts can do to a person - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Exclusive video shows what bath salts can do to a person

CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

Dangerous, deadly and unpredictable. Those are just a few words to describe the continued craze over synthetic drugs like bath salts.

Exclusive video obtained from a local sheriff's department shows the frightening effects.

Dash cam video from a squad car shows a white female flopping around on the side of the highway screaming for "God to help her."

Deputies could be heard talking on the video, that the woman tried to jump over the side and was rolling into traffic.

She told police she thought her arms and legs were falling off. Officers had to cuff her ankles and wrists. She was placed on her stomach on a stretcher and put into an ambulance.

She's one of the lucky ones, she survived.

"It acts like cocaine, meth and sometimes LSD," said Dr. Russell Deidiker. 

By the time a patient gets to Doctor Deidiker it's too late. He's a forensic pathologist performing autopsies on cases from 25 counties.

In some of those cases the cause of death is bath salts.

It's a dangerous drug with some wicked side effects.

"It causes extreme agitation," said Deidiker. "At least one case of malignant hypothermia-extreme elevation of body temperature."

Deidiker can run a tox screen at a forensic lab which will show whether a patient used bath salts.

That is not the case at your local ER.

"Bath salts aren't going to show up on your toxicology screen," said Angela Selzer-Southeast Health ER.

Most hospital labs aren't equipped to screen for synthetic drugs.

If a patient is unconscious or doesn't admit to using the drugs, the ER can only do so much.

"It's very serious," said Selzer.

Bath salts are now illegal in many Heartland states. In Missouri a new law went into effect in August, and now there's a temporary federal ban.

Before the ban, hospitals could hardly keep up.

"Sometimes there were 4 to 5 cases a day, actually we were seeing in the double digits every week," said Selzer. 

She says that number has declined a bit since the new laws, but the problem isn't gone.

Drug officers say the drugs have gone underground and online saying if people still want the drugs they'll find a way to get them.

It's a drug doctors say affects everyone differently.

"There isn't a safe range," said Deidiker. 

It's proving deadly for some the first time.

Since the drug is still fairly new the long term effects are unknown.

"We haven't really seen what happens to the body chronically like from someone who's using bath salts," said Deidiker. 

"These things are sometimes not reversible, and so you could have long term effects that could affect you forever," said Selzer. 

For those who survive they may never be the same.

Bath salts are not something you would put in your tub. Police say that's just a clever marketing name.

They're also packaged as jewelry cleaner and plant food.

Copyright KFVS 2011. All rights reserved.

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