Ohio’s ban in October on so-called bath salts seems to be working – at least for now.
But law enforcement officers and those in the drug-rehabilitation and medical field who gathered Thursday in Akron to discuss the synthetic stimulants warned their popularity could resurface.
The abuse of bath salts — not the ones you use in your bathtub — was first discovered in the Akron area in early 2010 by police and paramedics who were handling calls from patients exhibiting bizarre behavior.
Health officials say the problem was not just limited to the young. One patient was a 69-year-old woman who tried the drug because she was depressed about her divorce. A friend told her bath salts would make her feel better, but she ended up in the psychiatric unit anxious and suicidal.
A Barberton police officer told those gathered at the forum of some of the calls he has encountered, including one woman who was having spasms and flopping around on the floor like a fish and one man who insisted monkeys were following him including into the police station.
Bath salt is a fine white powder that is snorted, ingested or injected. It was sold, in convenience stores and other outlets before the ban, under many different names, including Cloud 9, White Lightning, White Horse and Charge Plus.
Authorities say bath salts remind them of the drug PCP in the 1980s but more dangerous. Others likened it to a combination of LSD and cocaine.