LAPPL Blog: The official blog of the Los Angeles Policy Protective League

Growing use of bath salts prompts warning

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 10/19/2012 @ 01:59 PM

Image: WCBS 880

(Image: WCBS 880)

Bath salts were a “trending topic” in social media this week. Contributing to the cyberspace chatter was news of a recording released by the LAPPL. Deutsche Bank executive Brian C. Mulligan was caught on tape telling a Glendale police officer he snorted white lightning, a type of bath salts, and that he believed a helicopter had been trailing him. The dramatic revelation undercut the banker’s $50-million brutality claim against two LAPD officers.

To be clear, the illicit “bath salts” we are talking about are not the cosmetic products sold in bath, beauty or drug stores for use in bath water. Those products are safe to use as directed, according to the authoritative website drugfree.org.

We are alerting you to the growing use of synthetic bath salts drug being pushed as white lighting, white rush and Hurricane Charlie. It causes severe and potentially fatal side effects. Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of L.A. County’s Department of Public Health, said in a warning issued this week: “Bath salts are particularly dangerous in that not much is known about what goes into the drug and even less is known about what people are capable of while on this drug.”

Dr. Fielding warned of harmful risks to users and an increased potential for others (read: LAPD officers) to be harmed if someone near them is high on the drug. The drug can cause kidney and liver failure, seizures, increased suicide risk and even death, according to Fielding. Other side effects include sweating, chest pain, rapid heart rate, hallucinations, violent behavior and mental illness. Symptoms of abuse can include lack of appetite, decreased need for sleep, self-mutilation and severe paranoia.

Officials nationwide are alarmed by the dramatic increase in use of bath salts. According to an L.A. Times story, U.S. poison control centers report that calls related to bath salts increased dramatically from zero in 2009 to 6,138 last year. In response, President Obama signed a federal ban on the drug’s three active ingredients, and halted smoke shops and gas stations from selling bath salts.

As with so many illicit drugs, it’s difficult to shut down the supply where there is growing demand. We submit Brian Mulligan as a testament to that reality. In the process he has unwittingly become the poster boy for just how dangerous this drug can be.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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