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Drugs marketed as "bath salts" banned in Louisiana

There has been a great deal of news coverage in the past few months regarding drugs marketed as bath salts. Packaged with names such as Cloud 9, White Dove, Ivory Wave, Bliss and Vanilla Sky, this unusual drug is not intended for use in the bath. Rather, it can be smoked, snorted or injected.

Authorities report that bath salts pose serious health risks and contain stimulants that create a methamphetamine-like high. Often, they contain Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, also known as MDPV, which is a stimulant similar to amphetamines, cocaine or ecstasy. However, people using the drug generally do not know exactly what the product contains. These bath salts have been linked to lengthy hallucinations, violent behavior and suicidal thoughts.

Louisiana Poison Control and emergency room physicians reported a rush of bath salt overdose cases. Experts claim the drug was causing patients to experience kidney failure, multi-organ failure and even death. Some even suggest drug caused several individuals to commit suicide.

These bath salts were sold in various places, including convenience stores and online. Last month, however, Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals classified the bath salts as controlled substances, making them illegal.

In the five weeks before the ban, Louisiana Poison Control received 131 calls related to bath salt overdoses. In the five weeks after the ban, the organization only received 13 calls regarding the substance.

While bath salt use is down in Louisiana, it is on the rise across the country, with 41 other states now reporting overdose cases. Currently, there is no federal ban in place. However, there is talk about instituting such a law.

Source: WWLTV.com, "Big drop in bath salt overdose cases since ban," Doug Mouton, 10 Feb. 2011

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