Drug officials issue warning over bath salts

ALBANY, Ga. -- Just keep it out of your nose and you'll be all right, authorities say, when discussing one of the newest fads to hit the drug culture.

Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit Commander Maj. Bill Berry gets a lot of weird looks when he brings up the dangers of bath salts.

"The truth is, we're not talking about the stuff you get at Bed, Bath and Beyond," he said. "This is stuff that's flowing in from India and China and is packaged for individual use ... No one is going to get much legitimate use out of a half-gram pouch of bath salts in a bath tub, and they darn sure aren't going to pay $20 to $30 for it."

It's one of the newest fads among illicit drug users.

The white powder is really not unlike its cousins in the cocaine and meth families, Berry said.

"People snort it, they shoot it up ... sometimes you hear of someone trying to smoke it," Berry said.

Why would someone snort bath salts?

Berry said some specific types contain a similar chemical compound found in methamphetamine, ecstacy and cocaine and have been discovered by some as a legal way to get high.

At least it was legal until Friday, when Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill banning the sale of bath salts with those specific chemical compounds.

"So we're trying to get the word out and do a bit of a public service message saying, 'Hey, look, this law is now in effect, if you have any of the stuff, get rid of it'," Berry said. "There are people getting pretty sick off the stuff, and we don't want to see anyone get sick or die here."

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, one of the common components of bath salts, Methodrone, prevents the brain from absorbing the chemical Dopamine and can prevent a person from feeling any kind of pleasure, which leads to paranoia and anxiety.

A recent CNN story on bath salts referenced a spate of violent behavior attributed to bath salts in Panama City, Fla., where a woman allegedly tried to behead her 71-year-old mother and a man tore up the back seat of a patrol car with his teeth.