This photo provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s website shows what are commonly known as “bath salts,” which contain chemicals that mimic the effects of methamphetamine and cocaine. The DEA has put a temporary ban on the substances, and businesses and residents have until Oct. 8 to get rid of the drugs before their possession and sale are felony offenses.

Courtesy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

This photo provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s website shows what are commonly known as “bath salts,” which contain chemicals that mimic the effects of methamphetamine and cocaine. The DEA has put a temporary ban on the substances, and businesses and residents have until Oct. 8 to get rid of the drugs before their possession and sale are felony offenses.

DEA: Dispose of bath salts

Agency institutes emergency ban on substance

At a glance …

• U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration put an emergency ban on synthetic stimulants Sept. 8.

• The substances, commonly called bath salts, are designed to mimic the effects of cocaine and methamphetamine.

• Residents and businesses have until 30 days after Sept. 8 to get rid of the drugs before possessing or selling them becomes a felony offense.

• All Crimes Enforcement Team task force officer: The drugs are in use locally.

Quotable

“Even in young and healthy people, these drugs are very dangerous.”

— Andrew Hughes, a family practitioner at The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic in Craig

The idea of bath salts may bring to mind colorful crystals that add fragrance to a long, hot soak.

But, it’s also become a common name for a dangerous cocktail of synthetic stimulants made to replicate the effects of hard drugs.

Until recently, the drugs were not controlled and could be purchased legally in stores.

They “could be sold at any location without regulation,” including truck stops and convenience stores, said Jim Schrant, resident agent in charge at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Grand Junction office.

But, that’s about to change.

On Sept. 8, the DEA put an emergency ban on bath salts.

Residents and businesses have 30 days from that date to get rid of the drugs, Schrant said.

After that, possessing or selling the drugs becomes a felony offense, Schrant said, and could be punishable with prison time.

The drugs appear to be less popular in Northwest Colorado than other regions, he added. But, that doesn’t mean the area has been untouched by the relatively new drugs.

“It’s definitely being used in the area,” said Ryan Hess, an officer with the All Crimes Enforcement Team, a drug task force that operates in the Yampa Valley.

‘The worst of both’

Bath salts contain synthetic chemicals, including mephedrone, according to the DEA’s website, that are designed to have the same stimulatory and hallucinatory effects as cocaine or methamphetamine.

“So, it’s really the worst of both being packaged together in this controlled substance being sold in a convenience store, and that’s where it really started to become a significant concern to us,” Schrant said, adding that the drugs also are often marketed to children and young adults.

Early this month, the DEA established the ban because the substances were deemed a threat to public health and safety, he said.

And, according to one local physician, the drugs can have serious side effects.

They can lead to paranoia, chest pains and elevated blood pressure, said Andrew Hughes, a family practitioner at The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic in Craig.

The drugs can be particularly dangerous for people with conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure.

However, “Even in young and healthy people, these drugs are very dangerous,” Hughes said.

Local access

ACET officers haven’t encountered bath salts firsthand, said Hess, who was assigned to ACET from the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office.

But, he added, “There’s definitely reliable street-level intel that says that it’s being used.”

At the local level, the drugs appear to be used mostly at parties instead of being widely distributed like methamphetamine or cocaine, he said.

And, the drugs are available in Moffat and Routt counties.

“It is sold locally,” he said, adding that stores in Craig and Steamboat Springs have carried bath salts, although these products were marketed as not for human consumption.

In Northwest Colorado, reported cases of emergency room visits caused by the drug have been few.

Hughes and Dave Higgins, clinical lead for TMH’s emergency department, said they had not seen any cases associated with the drugs.

Schrant didn’t have statistics on incidents connected to bath salts in Northwest Colorado, but he said his office is aware of only a few regional reports of emergency room visits caused by the drug.

Matt Beckett, Moffat County director of the Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, said he hasn’t heard of any cases connected to the drug, either.

“But that doesn’t mean it’s not going on,” he said.

He added that the drugs are difficult to track because they can be sold online.

The drugs are relatively new, “so we’re just learning,” Beckett said. “We have no resources to go about effective prevention or anything yet.”

However, if the substances become more prevalent in Moffat County, the agency will launch presentations to educate parents and the community, he added.

The DEA has a similar goal.

Although bath salts will soon carry a felony charge, Schrant said the main purpose behind the DEA’s ban is to educate the public about their danger.

“The important message that we want to get across is, if people have these (drugs), they want to get rid of them,” he added.

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Comments

colorado_22 2 years, 7 months ago

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I am sure that this is, in fact, a "serious problem," but it is just plain hilarious. Thanks CDP and more importantly the DEA for providing me with a solid 10 minutes of laughter. But really, this is rediculous. If anyone is questioning whether or not the USA has a drug problem, see above article ^^. This is getting out of hand, folks. Stop putting random chemicals in your nose, and mouth. They will most likely get you high and/or result in death or psychosis. Pathedic.

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Rebelgirl 2 years, 7 months ago

colorado_22 if you are going to make a comment about the article the least you could do is spell check. The use of bath salts has killed many people in bigger cities and is becoming a bigger problem through out the nation. This is no different than people getting drunk every night or smoking cigarettes, people know its bad for them and because it is they will do it just because they can. You telling someone to stop putting random chemicals into their body isnt going to stop them. So unless you have a better solution than laughing at the article please keep the comments and bad spelling to yourself.

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David Moore 2 years, 7 months ago

Ok, did April Fools day get moved because I didn't get the memo. Whats next, scented candles cause euphoria, hallucinations and the munchies. Bath salts....really??? I am not discounting that there may be some problem with the chemical composition of these salts, but why can't they concentrate on the real drug problems this country has instead of wasting time with ridiculous things like bath salts, last I heard meth is still killing people and addicting thousands every day. I'll have to look it up, but I don't recall any bath salt deaths lately.

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David Moore 2 years, 7 months ago

OK, open mouth insert foot, apparently there have been a few deaths linked to this pseudo, sold as plant food type "bath salt". However, it is apparent this is not your average bath salts sold at Wal-Mart or Bath and Bodywork's, but a "bath salt" substance, similar to cocaine (called mephadrone, a cocaine like chemical and MDPV, a psychoactive substance)in which a substantial number of the deaths are not because the person was bathing in it, but because they were snorting it or ingesting it in some other method. It comes with names such as "Tranquility, Ivory Wave, and Cloud 9" and is sold online, over the counter in some convenience stores and in bong shops. If you are buying bath salts, to bathe in from a bong shop, you might want to check into what you are getting. I don't think the average citizen has to worry about the salts they purchase from Wal-Mart or elsewhere. I feel the article was a bit misleading in lumping actual bath salts that you pour into water in with these chemicals that people are using like any other drug, not bathing in them. It is not funny at all, people have died because of this new wave of drugs, but it seemed laughable because ones reaction, like mine, would be "whats next". I figured they were talking about the box of juniper scented bath salts I have leftover in my cabinet, my daughter loves them. And just in case one is to wonder, yes I did read the article. The generalization of it all caught me off guard and I wondered if I could be arrested for possession of juniper. I will now chew on my shoe for awhile.

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colorado_22 2 years, 7 months ago

Hey, Rebelgirl, get a life! ;) While you're busy taking yourself much too seriously, I think I'm going to get a few chuckles out of our otherwise bland and dreary news. Yeah, the fact that people are dying and causing themselves to become synthetically psychotic is a problem. Let's face it, it is not the bath salt, or the manufacturers fault, they are merely capitalizing on much larger societal substance abuse problem- and they are doing so illegally and in an unethical fashion. P.S.*pathetic.

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