Synthetic Cocaine Sold As 'Bath Salts'
DEA Warns Synthetic Drug Appearing In Gas Stations, Head Shops, Online
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Experts are warning parents about the latest synthetic drug labeled as "bath salts" that has rapidly spread across the Orlando area and has already sent dozens of young people to Florida hospitals.
Don't let the label fool you. The makers call it "bath salts" or "plant feeder" and are sold under a variety of brand names, but experts say it's really fake cocaine. The labels also usually say it's "not for human consumption" but in a drug alert sent in December, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency said teens are snorting it to get high. The DEA said it gives users euphoria and extreme energy, but they'll also appear agitated, suffer from hallucinations, or worse.
"Some people get even chest pain or cardiovascular collapse," said Dr. Josef Thundiyil, who works in Orlando Regional Medical Center emergency rooms and is a toxicologist. "It's appealing to kids because it is legal, because you can get it on the Internet. Whenever it's new and on the Internet there's the appearance that it might be safe, when in reality we actually don't know that it's safe."
It's also appealing to young people because the price is right -- under $50 in most places. The DEA said the fake drug is sold in convenience stores, smoke shops, gas stations and online. The Florida Poison Information Center said fake cocaine started showing up in Florida last August. Since then, Central Florida hospitals have seen the majority of the 41 cases statewide. Users have reportedly been sent to emergency room or psychiatric wards.
"I think that's just the tip of the iceberg because there's no mandatory reporting," said Thundiyil, who explained that hospitals are not required to tell the Florida Poison Information Center about cases, so there's no telling how many other kids have been hurt by this latest fake drug.
Doctors said parents need to watch their children closely for signs of abuse, because it does not show up on drug tests.
The synthetic cocaine has been prevalent in the United Kingdom for years, and was only recently banned after deaths were reported.
Synthetic Cocaine Sold As 'Bath Salts' - Health News Story - WKMG Orlando