In February, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a new bill that added seven primary chemicals commonly used in the designer drug known as bath salts to the banned-substances list. The Arizona Republic reports police say the law has done little to curb the growing number of incidents involving people high on bath salts because drugmakers are constantly tweaking their formulas to stay ahead of bans. Doctors and police officers acknowledge that the number of bath-salts cases are on the rise as more people smoke, snort or inject the synthetic white-powder drug, which can cause hallucinations, psychosis, paranoia, agitation, combativeness, violent behavior, high body temperature, kidney failure, cardiac arrest, and death.
Bath salts, which are believed to have originated in China and India, hit the streets a few years ago and are sold in smoke shops, in head shops, in convenience stores, and online under innocuous names, including “plant food,” “Ivory Wave,” “glass cleaner” and “Vanilla Sky.” El Mirage police have investigated multiple armed robberies at smoke shops where robbers have demanded bath salts and spice. In May, El Mirage officers shot a man who they say charged at officers with a knife. Detective Kim Walden, a department spokeswoman, said the man had been high on bath salts. “Bath salts is one of the biggest rising drugs right now,” Walden said. “It seems to be a harsher drug, where it makes somebody more violent, more paranoid, hallucinate a lot more. It’s just an up-and-coming drug that scares all of us.”