By Josh Haywood
Rub-a-dub-dub, this stuff doesn’t go in the tub. For those that are unaware, bath salts are not something you put in your tub for relaxation. Rather, they are substances that when ingested, mimic cocaine and methamphetamine. The active chemical in white powder is Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, an extremely powerful stimulant with a primary high that lasts three to four hours and keeps the user in a state of alert for six to eight hours. These salts are extremely addictive and can result in paranoia-induced hallucinations. Currently the main chemical in the substance has been placed under a one-year emergency ban by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The major issue with this designer drug is that chemists have the ability to change the chemical structure by one or two molecules to the point that they create a new chemical that is not banned. There needs to be a set of national laws that would regulate the precursor chemicals that go into the production of this substance and criminalize every step it takes to get it in the hands of the user from production to distribution. It needs to be made as hard as humanly possible to obtain the ingredients to make the drug, and authorities must actively go after people who decide to create the drug. This type of substance needs to be cracked down on because I have seen the toxic effects it can have on a community.
My home town of Barberton, Ohio was the first city in Ohio to ban the substance after some of the drug’s negative effects reared their ugly heads. The problem went unnoticed last summer until people started showing up to the ER, acting crazy and freaking out that they were being followed or stalked by serial killers. The hospital ended up hiring an extra security guard just for the ER. One drive-through in particular was the source where a lot of the drug where users could buy a gram of “White Horse,” one of several names the drug is sold under, for $20. Addiction got so horrible that the place started to accept trades for the drug: people would trade TVs and other electronics just for a pack of the stuff. The drive-through was the target of several armed robberies until the workers started arming themselves. I remember going through the place to get a drink and seeing the attendant rocking a .45 pistol on his waist. Eventually the police and hospital got tired of dealing with these users and decided to work with city council to ban the drug. The wording of the city ban was eventually used when the state placed a ban on the products in October 2011. The problem is that right after one of the chemicals is banned, there is another chemical to take its place. This is what happened at the same drive-through as mentioned earlier: they got a new product that they thought wasn’t banned. The problem at the store continued until the police caught on and raided the institution, recovering some $10,000 in cash, three handguns and over 100 packets of “White Horse” (the specialty bath salt sold at the store). The store owner and two workers were arrested and were and charged for their crimes.
Sadly though, my town never changed and the store to this day continues to sell legal versions of the drug along with fake ecstasy, fake weed and fake Xanax bars. The only thing you can do now is warn people about the dangers of this extremely addictive drug. The DEA’s one-year emergency ban will be coming to an end in October, and if the drug is not made permanently illegal I fear that there could be a major re-emergence of issues related to the drug.