published Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Bath salts behind bizarre attacks in the news

In recent weeks news accounts have been sprinkled with bizarre accounts of a naked man attacking and literally eating the face of a victim in Miami; another naked man making threats and sexual advances toward a 3-year-old girl on a children's playground; a 21-year-old man growling at police and trying to bite an officer yelling, "I'm going to eat you!"; and an Austin man who reportedly jumped naked from a bridge and attacked an emergency services worker who came to his aid.

What ties these acts together? The use of "bath salts."

The term bath salts elicits thoughts and smells of lavender and magnolia in Grandma's bathroom. That was then.

Now, bath salts are a concoction made by street chemists, and the effects of using them are anything but harmless. The initial "feelings" are reported as relaxation, euphoria and a sense of warmth and well being. Those sensations eventually devolve into an increased heart rate and blood pressure, extremely high body temperatures (hence, the removal of clothing), extreme paranoia and violence, leading law enforcement authorities to deem the symptoms "excited delirium."

In Tennessee, bath salts, their ingredients and similar derivatives now are illegal due to legislation just passed during the 2012 General Assembly and signed into law. However, the availability of the small packets, often labeled "not for human consumption," still is widespread.

Despite at least 34 states nationwide banning the sale, possession and use of these street-made drugs, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported a total of 720 calls about human exposure to "bath salts" in 2011. In May 2012 alone the number of calls was 295.

These are the moments when the libertarian argument that anyone should be able to do and put into their bodies whatever they personally choose fails.

The obvious question to be asked is, "why?"

Why do so many people on this glorious planet desire to smoke, inject, snort and ingest chemicals and substances that not only remove any control of one's faculties and functioning, but impact one's brain and central nervous system, often irreversibly?

Parents and family members, watch out for small, plastic packets containing multi-colored or natural-looking substances. The "why" question may be unanswerable, but vigilance and education may save a life. Engage.

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Maybe if you didn't criminalize certain more natural substances...nah, that stuff is a problem too.

But actually, libertarians would offer a reasonable argument to rebut you, that these things happen because no legitimate company is involved since it's been criminalized.

June 19, 2012 at 12:42 a.m.
CADMAN1 said...

Good thing this case won't go to trial. I can here it now "If the face taste like SH-- t you must aquit"

June 19, 2012 at 1:43 p.m.

We need to legalize pot. These folks come in the ER out of their minds. Nothing brings them down , total phycosis. Noone in my years have come in the ER because of pot. Alcohal and pills most days but never pot. We need to legalize it tax it, and get these synthetics off the shelves.

June 19, 2012 at 4:31 p.m.
Lr103 said...

The problem isn't the bath salts vby irawld. There are usually combinations of drugs being taken, even a reaction to taking legal prescription drugs and the person is using alcohol and other illegal drugs. Including marijuana. Individually consumed none of these, not even the bath salts, are likely to cause such a violent reaction, however when taken in combination that's likely where the violent psychotic disconnect is likely taking place.

June 19, 2012 at 8:18 p.m.

lr103 noone knows what is even in the bath salts they are the problem. yes by them selves with or with out other drugs/alcohol. The only thing i have seen in my years working in an ER that could compare is the meth. Please don't mix pot smokers with any of the others. Its like riding a bull dealing with pt's on these drugs. they don't know who they are for hrs. MJ smokers will eat them selves to sleep long b4 they would consider eating someone's face off. Please do some research on the affects of MJ including the total # of deaths due to the drug in the history of mankind then get back to me with some facts that would support keeping MJ illegal. thank you

June 20, 2012 at 3:17 p.m.
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