Dr. V: Bath Salt Controversy

June 5, 2012 Updated Jun 5, 2012 at 9:27 AM EDT

By WKBW News

June 5, 2012 Updated Jun 5, 2012 at 9:27 AM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. ( WKBW ) Every Tuesday, Dr. Raul Vazquez visits Channel 7's "Eyewitness News This Morning" to talk about medical issues. This week, Dr. V warned Ginger Geoffery about "bath salts" - a dangerous synthetic drug.

Click the video for more.

ABC NEWS also reported on this, and here is there report:

On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Chris Coons praised recent legislation for the nationwide ban on "bath salts," a dangerous synthetic drug that has emerged in the past few years and may have led to the recent attack in Miami where a man ate off 80 percent of a homeless man's face.

"Dangerous drugs like bath salts are terrorizing our communities and destroying lives," Senator Coons (D-Del.) said in a statement. "Stricter measures must be taken to stem the growing prevalence of bath salts and other new designer drugs."

"Bath salts" -- which are nothing like your mother's actual bath products -- are an inexpensive, synthetic, super-charged form of speed. the drug consists of a potpourri of constantly changing chemicals, three of which -- mephedrone, MDPV, and methylone -- were banned last fall by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Bath salts are still easily available online, though, and come in brand names like "Purple Wave," "Zoom," or "Cloud Nine." A 50-milligram packet sells for $25 to $50.

The drugs create a condition police have come to call an "excited delirium" that makes users paranoid, violent and unpredictable. On May 26, Miami police shot and killed a man who was allegedly feasting on the face of another homeless man in a daylight attack on a busy highway; police are investigating whether or not the drugs found in "bath salts" were in the aggressor's system.

ABC NewsDrug Enforcement Administration agents... View Full Size ABC NewsDrug Enforcement Administration agents arrested ten people in an elaborate drug bust Tuesday that spanned both coasts, and seized 2 million dollars worth of the designer drug "bath salts" over the course of a five month investigation.
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This horrifying crime is not the first time police have had to respond to people high on the drug committing illegal acts or exhibiting dangerous behavior.

In July 2010 Carey Shane Padgett of Roanoke County, Virginia allegedly beat his friend Cara Marie Holley to death. He later claims that he had ingested both bath salts and synthetic marijuana, or spice.

In April 2011 investigators determine that Army Sgt. David Stewart was under the influence of bath salts when he killed himself, his wife Kristy and their five-year-old son in Spanaway, Washington.

Sheriff Bay County Frank McKeithen told ABC News that he was disturbed by the affects that the drug had on the unidentified Florida teen who he witnessed high on bath salts in the back of a squad car.

"It's pretty devastating to think this kid was a normal kid walking around maybe the week before," McKeithen said.

In most cases, the active ingredient found in bath salts is a chemical known as metheylenedioxypyrovalerone, or MDPV for short. As far as the effects they have, bath salts are a central nervous system stimulant that acts something like a mix of methamphetamine and cocaine. They dramatically increase the dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the human brain in two dangerous ways -- by pouring more dopamine in as methamphetamine does, and at the same time, like cocaine, trapping both of these chemicals in the brain, so the user doesn't come down.

It's a dangerous situation, leading to a high that some drug abuse experts describe as up to 13 times more potent than cocaine. The altered mental status it brings about can lead to panic attacks, agitation, paranoia, hallucinations and violent behavior.

"We certainly heard about people with extraordinary strength and you know we have seen that with PCP in the past," Payne told ABC News. The lethal combination can create desperation, and sometimes lead to naked ramblings and users hurting themselves, or others.