Federal Ban on Bath Salts?
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina woman who wants to be identified as "Jane" knows all too well the dangerous effects so-called "bath salts" can have on not only the user - but an entire family. Her fiance is addicted to the drug. She says, "Now I have no home to live in, it's in foreclosure. He's lost his job because of the bath salts."
North Carolina banned key ingredients in the synthetic cocaine last June, but manufacturers skirt the ban by printing warnings that say "not for human consumption." Jane says she is, "Definitely in favor (of a federal ban). Like I said, I don't see how you can go into a store and buy it and it's legal."
The American Association of Poison Control Centers says bath salt use has skyrocketed across the country. In 2010, there were 304 calls for bath salt poisonings. In 2011, there were 6,138.
"It's still a big problem. There are certainly dozens of these that we see every month," says Dr. Charles Bregier. He is the medical director for Presbyterian Urgent Care. He says it's primarily young people who are drawn to the drug. "What we've seen is a lot of teenagers who are looking for a relatively easy way to get high," he says.
The Drug Enforcement Agency enacted a year long emergency ban which is set to expire in October. A recent USA Today article says federal legislation is stuck in the senate where Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is keeping it from reaching a floor vote. Paul says criminal justice should be left to states.
Bregier says the federal ban is needed. "Absolutely, absolutely, it needs to be a Schedule I drug," he says.
Jane is also rooting for a federal ban and hopes others hear her story and think twice before experimenting with the drug. She says, "Do not do it, do not. Prior to this last year, he (her fiance) was a wonderful person, a wonderful father. I couldn't ask for a better person. And it just went down hill, down hill, down hill. And I hope it's not too late, but I don't know."
"Bath salts" cause hallucinations, violence and more. Bregier warns parents to ask questions if your kid gets packages from India or China, where the drug is widely manufactured.
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