The half-gram bottle of bath salts promises an “invigorating” and “energizing” experience. Local and federal authorities tell the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that it's another dangerous product misused as fake cocaine that's sending youths to emergency rooms and mental hospitals in Florida and across the country. As federal officials prepare to ban synthetic marijuana, specialty shops and convenience stores across Florida have started stocking up on bottles of bath salts. Authorities have linked the bath salts to at least two suicides in Louisiana, 21 calls to Florida poison control centers, and dozens of hospital visits in Central and South Florida in the past year.
“We're seeing teenagers experiment with this,” said Dr. Nabil El Sanadi, chief of emergency medicine for Broward Health. “They will do stuff that they wouldn't normally do, like dive from a third-story window into a pool. It's very, very dangerous.” Some manufacturers are making designer drugs being sold as bath salts, said Wendy Stephan, health educator with the Florida Poison Information Center in Miami. Users usually snort the powder and experience effects similar to cocaine and crystal meth, El Sanadi said. The euphoria often leads to paranoia, chest pains and irregular heart beats. The bath salts are found in many shops and gas stations that once sold legal weed, says the U.S. Justice Department, which has reported an alarming increase in abuse of the bath salts.