At hospitals around the U.S., doctors are scrambling to figure out the best treatment for people high on bath salts, says the New York Times. The drugs started turning up regularly last year and have proliferated in recent months, alarming doctors, who say they have unusually dangerous and long-lasting effects. Though they come in powder and crystal form like traditional bath salts — hence their name — they differ in one crucial way: they are used as recreational drugs. People typically snort, inject, or smoke them.
Poison control centers got 3,470 calls about bath salts from January through June, says the American Association of Poison Control Centers, up from 303 in all of 2010. “Some of these folks aren't right for a long time,” said Karen Simone of the Northern New England Poison Center. “If you gave me a list of drugs that I wouldn't want to touch, this would be at the top.” At least 28 states have banned bath salts, which are typically sold for $25 to $50 per 50-milligram packet at convenience stores and head shops under names like Aura, Ivory Wave, Loco-Motion, and Vanilla Sky. Most of the bans are in the South and the Midwest, where the drugs have grown quickly in popularity. States like Maine, New Jersey, and New York have also outlawed them after seeing evidence that their use was spreading.