FRIENDSWOOD, Texas - A man had taken bath salts, a drug similar to synthetic cocaine or methamphetamine, when he ran into incoming traffic last week, said Friendswood police.
Police said on May 22, the man was rushed to the hospital and then released after running into traffic.
Later in the day, the same man swore at his neighbors and burned his hands trying to set his father's pickup on fire by dousing it with gasoline
Police said the man then threatened to burn down his house on Gleneagles. He was again rushed to the hospital.
"'Bath salts' are a growing drug abuse problem for the community," read a Friendswood police news release.
Though the name may sound harmless, the little packets of powder carry names like Ivory Wave, Bliss, White Lightning, and Vanilla Sky. Bath salts contain powerful amphetamine-like chemicals, such as methedrone and methylenedioxypyrovaleron or MDPV.
The drugs are typically taken orally, by inhalation, or by injection. The worst outcomes have been associated with snorting or injecting the bath salts.
There have been reports across the country of drug-induced deaths, accidental overdose, and suicide.
Bath salts are available on the Internet, and in drug paraphernalia stores, smoke shops and convenience stores.
U.S. poison centers have indicated that ingesting or snorting bath salts can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and delusions.
"They begin to lose their memory," said Ray Ortega, a licensed counselor at Cenikor, a long-term drug and alcohol behavior modification program with a facility in Deer Park.
"Motor skills are affected. There's a big delay in their thinking and their speech, and it's irreversible," added Ortega.
Police said bath salts are legal for venders to sell but illegal to possess.
"The manufacturers are not regulated and vendors are being told by the manufacturers that their substances do not contain banned chemicals. When suspects are found in possession of bath salts, laboratory results are requested before charges are filed," said the Friendswood police news release.
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