Bath Salts: A Deadly Drug
A year ago when you heard the term “bath salts” you likely thought of something you put in your bathtub to relax. It’s taken on a very different meaning in recent months. We’re now talking about Bath Salts that aren’t relaxing in the least. The synthetic drug Bath Salts causes hyper-anxiety and has proven deadly. It started earlier this year. ” Our best estimate was that we saw about three incidents of Bath Salts in May and in September our best estimate is we responded to 111,” said Chief Ron Gastia, with the Bangor Police Department. ” This is an astounding outbreak,” added Dr. Jonnathon Busko with Eastern Maine Medical Center. Bath Salts users have been filling hospitals and cop cars. ” What they look like are paranoid schizophrenics who’ve had a psychotic break,” described Busko.Dr. Jonnathon Busko works in the emergency department at Eastern Maine Medical Center. He says there are three types of Bath Salts users his staff sees. ” We see a group called the euphorics and we don’t see many of those. Those are the people who are high on Bath Salts and don’t like the high so they come in hoping there’s something that can be done about that,” said Busko. There’s also a group called the toxics. “Their temperatures are very high, their heart rates and blood pressure are high. They’re critically ill and dying,” said Busko. The group Dr. Busko says they see the most is the psychotics. ” They’re delusional, they can be very agitated or they can be very glad to see us because they’re very scared of what’s going on,” said Busko. Dr. Busko says at least two, possibly three deaths at the hospital can be directly related to the designer drug. ” The body loses control of its ability to maintain its temperature. These people basically cook themselves to death from a very, very high temperature,” described Busko.” That’s why we see people taking their clothes off. They take their shirt off, they take their pants off. It’s because they’re trying to get rid of the heat. Temperatures can be as high as 108 degrees,” added Gastia. The drug acts similar to PCP and Meth and when users are having hallucinations it can be very dangerous for emergency responders. ” They suck us into their hallucinations and their delusions and become assaultive to the staff and very violent and injure themselves,” said Busko. Bangor’s Police Chief, Ron Gastia, sends at least two officers to every call they suspect involves the drug, as long as he has the man power. ” The drugs are still so unpredictable that it continues to make us very concerned about the safety of the officers as well as the safety of the public,” said Gastia. There are reports of Bath Salts being found in some local schools but so far, Chief Gastia says it hasn’t happened in Bangor. ” I don’t think we can bury our heads in the sand and say it’s not going to happen. It’s happened with every single other drug that we have seen in the state,” said Gastia. So how can we lessen the blow? Chief Gastia and Dr. Busko agree that it’s about education. They say we need to teach people that life is real, not like what we see in movies. ” They’re able to dodge the bullets and take the hits and that doesn’t happen in reality. People get hurt, people die and there’s finality with death and I don’t think that our youth understand that death means forever,” said Gastia. ” This is not a club drug, this is not a safe drug, this is not something that you can use once and put aside,” added Busko. From the sounds of things, Maine won’t be putting aside its issues with Bath Salts anytime soon.Dr. Busko says since the drugs became illegal he has seen as light decrease in cases. Chief Gastia and his staff are working with departments throughout the state to educate everyone on the dangers on Bath Salts.