A dangerous new designer drug has hit the Hub City and now emergency room doctors say that no dose is safe to take.
Bath Salts, known to be synthetic Cocaine, was outlawed by President Barack Obama on July 9, 2012, along with 27 other designer drugs, but chemists have found a loophole to keep such drugs on the shelves of local smoke shops and gas stations. They have altered the compounds to change the product which technically makes it legal.
Lubbock County Probation Department Director Steven Henderson says it is not the same exact product, but it provides the same kind of high, along with the same dangerous side effects.
"It is possible to add a hydrocarbon or something here or there and change that chemical but the base of it the core of it is still there," said Henderson. "It's the compound that actually gives you the high or the changed mood."
Henderson says these imitation drugs are no safer to take than its original counterparts.
"Some people said they are even more powerful and addicting than what they're supposed to be replaced with, whether it's meth or cocaine," said Henderson.
Covenant Emergency Department Director Jonathan Skelton says the drugs are lethal. ""It could kill you," said Skelton. "Anybody who takes any of this drug will overdose."
The label which reads "not for human consumption" is another way manufacturers are able to keep this on store shelves and chemists in business.
Currently there is no test that can detect the drug in someone's system. It is something that probation officer like Henderson are working to change.
"The problem with bath salts is there is no test, no urinalysis or something where you can detect it. Someone just has to tell you,. 'I've been taking bath salts,'" said Henderson.
Since there is no test to trace the drug, there is no way to keep track of how many people are actually using the drug. According to the National Poison Data System, officials believe at least 31 deaths in 2011 were due to bath salts and at least another 11 deaths so far in 2012.
Federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said death results for bath salts is a mere estimation at this point, since the drug cannot be tested for by laboratories. UMC and Covenant confirmed this and could not provide local specifics, but believe there have been no reported deaths in Lubbock.
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