Victimless Crime File: Morons Find Dangerous New Way to Get High

It never fails to amaze me what morons will snort, smoke or eat to get high. One would think we lived in some hell hole like the Soviet Union where self-medication was the only way to deal with the futility of living in crushing totalitarianism. But we live in the greatest time of plenty in American history. Our poor have obesity problems, sex is so easy to get we have spikes in unwanted pregnancy even though contraception is cheap and available. We’re in the middle of a hyper-inflationary depression in a broke country and our wealth generated before that was so vast that we can not only live off it but most people in this country are unaware of how high food inflation is.

Maybe we’re too successful, because we have produced generation after generation of people so overcome with ennui that they spend their meager and pointless lives getting high. And it seems every few years users find some dangerous new substance to put in their bodies.

Now it’s something called “bath salts” which is a synthetic substance that has been compared to cocaine, meth and PCP. It is s stimulant that also causes hallucinations, a full ounce of it can be had for about $20 and it’s perfectly legal. But maybe someone should slap a warning label on it:

FULTON, Miss. — When Neil Brown got high on so-called bath salts, he took his skinning knife and slit his face and stomach repeatedly. Brown survived, but authorities say others haven’t been so lucky after snorting, injecting or smoking powders with such innocuous names as Ivory Wave, Red Dove and Vanilla Sky.

Some say the effects of the powders are as powerful as those of methamphetamine. Increasingly, law-enforcement agents and poison-control centers say, the bath salts are a menace.

From the Deep South to California, first-responders are being called to deal with exposure to the stimulants the powders often contain: mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, also known as MDPV.

Sold under such street names as Ivory Wave, Bliss, White Lightning and Hurricane Charlie, the chemicals can cause hallucinations, paranoia, rapid heart rates and suicidal thoughts, authorities say. The chemicals are sold as “bath salts,” as well as “plant food,” at head shops and convenience stores and on the Internet.

This week, Mississippi lawmakers began considering a proposal to ban the sale of the powders, and a similar step is being sought in Kentucky. In Louisiana, the bath salts were outlawed by an emergency order after the state’s poison center received more than 125 calls in the last three months of 2010 involving exposure to the chemicals.

In Brown’s case, he said he had tried every drug from heroin to crack, but he was so shaken by the terrifying hallucinations that he wrote one Mississippi newspaper urging people to stay away from the bath salts.

“I couldn’t tell you why I did it,” Brown said, pointing to his scars. “The psychological effects are still there.”

While Brown survived, sheriff’s authorities in one Mississippi county say they think one woman overdosed on bath salts there. In southern Louisiana, the family of a 21-year-old man says he cut his throat and ended his life with a gunshot. Authorities are investigating whether a man charged with capital murder in the December death of a Tippah County, Miss., sheriff’s deputy was under the influence of the bath salts.

Of course there is lots of talk about banning the ingredients, which won’t work since we live in a highly educated country where the the instructions to make the ingredients and the equipment to do so are available on the Internet.

Again, education is going to be the key here. Education and cutting off these low lifes and not letting them use the fact they were high on some crap they scored from Hot Topic keep them from doing big boy time. Here’s another story of a bath salt user going wild:

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Carolyn Joyce Ullery was lying in bed watching TV Monday afternoon when she had the scariest experience of her life: Her 48-year-old daughter burst into her room high on “bath salts” and swinging a machete.

“She was trying to kill me,” the 71-year-old woman said Wednesday. “She said she was going to kill me. … I’ve never seen anybody act like that.”

Panama City Beach police said Pamela Suzanne Higgins came into her mother’s room in the condo they share on Front Beach Road at about 2:30 p.m., swinging the machete, and said, “You ain’t dead yet?”

Ullery called the police and Higgins left the room but returned a short time later, still with the machete, according to a PCBPD police report. When her mother told her the police were on their way, Higgins left the residence.

She was still in the area when police arrived and was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, police reported.

Ullery was not injured, but police noted she was “nervous, shaking and upset” when they arrived. The frazzled mother said the outburst did not come without warning. Higgins has a long history of drug abuse and has been in rehab and detoxification facilities, her mother said.

Despite her history, her mother said Higgins’ behavior became noticeably more erratic around Thanksgiving. She was paranoid and delusional, Ullery said, hearing voices and racing back and forth to the window to see who was outside.

Higgins’ boyfriend of more than six years left her recently after she pulled a knife on him in his sleep, Ullery said, and according to police reports, neighbors have seen her digging in the yard looking for her “jewels.”

“She’s done everything in the book and she’s never acted like that,” Ullery said. “All she does with that other stuff is run around like a chicken with its head cut off.”

[...]

According to the incident report, Higgins and her mother argued Sunday night and Higgins packed her belongings.

It was at that time, Ullery said, she discovered an empty package of Blue Silk, one of several brand names under which the “bath salts,” described by law enforcement as synthetic and legal cocaine or methamphetamine, are marketed. The substance also has been marketed as “plant food” in other regions.

No matter the name, it is a dangerous substance that is growing in popularity in the Panhandle, police officials have said.

Anyone notice a trend here? Long time drug users who are obviously being cared for by others go out and get ahold of this stuff which blows their minds. I wonder if the interaction between this and other drugs is the problem? Of course,  the real problem is keeping drug addicts around your house and giving them the money to get high. But I digress. The article continues with some interesting information:

In the last three weeks, Gulf Coast Medical Center’s emergency room has seen “a handful” of patients whose physicians were informed that they had been using “bath salts,” Dr. Justin Strittmatter said. He estimated it to be between five and 10 cases in the last three weeks, which is not a huge number, but is a noticeable increase from zero cases just a month ago, he said.

Patients present with a variety of symptoms similar to someone using cocaine or meth, he said. They have an increased heart rate, temperature and the “acute, acute onset of psychosis,” he said.

“Like other stimulants, their fight or flight response is activated in a very disproportionate way,” Strittmatter said.

Investigators nationwide are trying to determine whether that fight or flight reaction could explain the behavior like Higgins’ alleged actions, as well as that of a 26-year-old man accused of fatally shooting a Tippah County, Miss., deputy Dec. 3 while under the influence of Ivory Wave, another brand name of “bath salts.”

Franklin Fitzpatrick, who has been charged with the death, reportedly ripped through straps and heavy medical tape while first responders were attempting to subdue the 6-foot man.

The level of toxicity, which is generally related to the dosage versus the body weight of the user and the sensitivity of the nervous system, determines the degree of a person’s reaction to the drug, Strittmatter said.

At times, patients who have come into the Gulf Coast emergency room have had to be restrained while doctors combat the symptoms of the drugs with benzodiazepam, antipsychotics, epilepsy medicines and IV fluids to prevent dehydration, he said. Essentially, all they can do is treat the symptoms until the drug works through the patients’ body, he said.

“If you can calm the beast, as they say, it helps to counterbalance the symptoms,” Strittmatter said.

In the most extreme cases, the drug can cause rhabdomyolysis, or the gradual breakdown of muscle fibers and their release into the blood stream, he said. If a patient has entered that phase by the time they reach the hospital, the prognosis is not good, he said.

Or maybe it is good, if I may take a misanthropic view. Lisa Flam has an article taking about how well state bans will work but frankly they won’t work as well as states sending the stores that sell this crap the bills of the users clogging up the emergency rooms. Want to make bath salts scarce? Sue the people selling it.

I give it three months before some moron claims this stuff is medicine and no worse than alcohol or cigarettes.

The Border Narcotics Intelligence Facebook page has an interesting discussion on this. They think this is not wide spread enough to warrant DEA involvement.

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