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Link Between Bath Salts & Drug Abuse?

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV
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File image of bath salts

File image of bath salts

WBZ-TV's Joe Shortsleeve Joe Shortsleeve
Joe Shortsleeve is chief correspondent for WBZ-TV News weekdays a...
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BOSTON (CBS) – They are supposed to be something you pour into a hot relaxing bath but some bath salts are now being banned. That is because they contain a synthetic drug, which is killing abusers.

Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve says several states including Massachusetts do not want these products on store shelves.

A hot relaxing bath bubble bath sounds great, especially if you throw in some soothing bath salts. But some bath salts have very little to do with the tub and everything to do with drug abuse.

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve reports.

Julie and Richard Sander’s 21-year-old son Dickie committed suicide after they say he snorted “Cloud Nine” bath salts.

Speaking to us from their home in Louisiana, they want to warn other families.

His father says “he was so fearful and so scared out of his mind. This chemical is incredibly poisonous. You do not take it and control yourself. It controls you for up to two weeks at a time.”

We easily found “Cloud Nine” and other supposed bath salts for sale over the internet with names like…. “Ivory Wave”….and “Blue Silk”…

They are available for immediate shipment for as little as $8 a packet but they are not for the tub at all. Law enforcement says most contain the chemical MDPV a synthetic unregulated drug which mimics the effects of heroin, cocaine or LSD.

Young drug abusers are now snorting and smoking the salts with deadly results.

Dickie’s step mother, Dr. Julie Sanders, says “our goal now is to bring national awareness and to have it banned nationally so no other family has to suffer.”

On Beacon Hill, dangerous bath salts are getting some top level attention. The Attorney General’s office tells WBZ Martha Coakley is studying the issue. And the Chairwoman of the Substance Abuse Committee is promising hearings on bath salts this spring.

Representative Liz Malia says “the message that we want to get out to everyone is that this is a dangerous chemical.”

Much like the case of Dickie Sanders, side effects after ingesting the powdery stimulants are often violent and frightening.

The Florida Attorney General has banned the chemical and police there report users raging out of control.

Sheriff Frank McKeithen from Bay County Florida says one user “literally tore the radar unit out the vehicle with his teeth. It took seven officers to try and subdue him and get him out of the vehicle.”

WBZ has learned the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency here in Boston now says bath salts are a drug of concern…

A growing concern.

The American Poison Control Center says they received 251 emergency calls about bath salts in January, which is more than they got all of 2010.

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