A surge of use over the past few months over completely legal, extremely hallucinogenic, bath salts is causing experts to say parents need to check twice to see what their kids are buying online.
"I had heard of accidentally ingesting these, but nothing like the intention to get high," Dave Palinski of Project Lighthouse says. Palinski works with runaway, homeless, and street youth.
These aren't the rock-like salts sold at retailers like Bath and Body Works . The $20 packets are available in corner stores, truck stops and on the Internet. They're marketed as bath salts or sometimes plant food and come with the (often-ignored) disclaimer "not for human consumption." They're not subject to regulation, even though they contain various potent chemicals, including mephedrone , which is a stimulant.
The "salts" come with gentle-sounding names like Ivory Wave and Vanilla Sky and are typically snorted, smoked, injected and even mixed with water as a beverage.
At least 25 states have received calls about exposure. The state of Louisiana has outlawed the substance, after the state's poison control center received 125 calls over the past three months.
In South Carolina, Poison Control Director Jill Michels says they've received a handful of calls.
"It's hard to track though, depending on how ER's call the issue in," she says.
When Neil Brown got high on dangerous chemicals sold as bath salts, he took his skinning knife and slit his face and stomach repeatedly .
The cheap price and Internet availability make the drug popular among young people.
"If you have teenagers, young adults in your house, be careful of what they're looking for on the Internet, because it can be easily accessible through Internet searches," Michels says. "Be aware of your children's behavior."
"Those exposed to potent amount of bath salts come in, and basically they're very paranoid, described as a bad trip. They don't feel good. They're very paranoid about their situation. Also we see an increase in their vital signs such as their heart rate and blood pressure increasing," Michels continued.
Had you heard of this new synthetic drug? How would you protect your kids from trying these "bath salts"? Leave a comment below.