BOSTON (CBS)- Law enforcement agencies say the synthetic drug epidemic has reached New England. Two people have overdosed on “bath salts” in the last two days.
The product, typically sold in tobacco shops and convenience stores, despite its name, is rarely used to soften bath water. For the past year drug enforcement authorities have been warning against ingesting the chemicals that have been known to make people hallucinate, have suicidal thoughts, or panic attacks.
The United States Drug Enforcement Agency banned the synthetic chemicals found in bath salts last year, but they’re found easily online under names like Vanilla Sky, Bliss, or Ivory Wave. Thirty-eight states have state-level bans, and Massachusetts is considering one.
Friday morning a woman in Plaistow, New Hampshire, was taken to the hospital after she was found behaving erratically at the Shaw’s Plaza. She was carrying bath salts she admitted to ingesting.
Five hours later, Plaistow Police, Rockingham Sheriff’s deputies and DEA agents raided the Food Plus discount store across the street from where the victim was found.
Plaistow Police say they began an investigation into Food Plus months prior, and seized $100,000 worth of suspected synthetic drugs. The products they took will be tested in a laboratory to confirm the presence of illegal chemicals.
In Danvers on Saturday, police say they were called to the Cab Health and Rehabilitation Center for a suspected bath salts overdose.
Staff at Cab say a person was brought into the center who was behaving “psychotically.”
The person was not a patient at the center and was referred to a nearby emergency room. The Cab Center says that was the first time anyone asked them for help with bath salts.
“This is one that clearly is very dangerous. And again, I think that’s the message we want to get out to everybody, that this is a very dangerous chemical,” Jamaica Plain Rep. Liz Malia told WBZ-TV.
This weekend a WBZ-TV employee was able to buy what a Nashua convenience store clerk identified as K2, or synthetic marijuana.
Similar to bath salts, K2 has also been banned by the DEA, but is marketed as something innocuous.
In this case, it was labeled potpourri but could mimic the effects of marijuana if smoked.
WBZ-TV’s purchase has not been tested by a lab to confirm the presence of illegal chemicals. The DEA was notified of the findings.
A good rule of thumb to follow: don’t want to smoke something labeled potpourri, and don’t take a bath in something bought at a smoke shop.
You can follow Bree on Twitter @BreeSison.