RENO, NV - For a couple of years now, the hands of local and state law enforcement were tied when it came to the deadly designer drugs known as “bath salts.” While federal law prohibits their manufacture, sale or possession, Nevada had no such law. That was until Wednesday.
Last month the state pharmacy board banned four chemicals known to make up “bath salts”.
Yesterday the state legislative commission approved that ban.
Now something that was legal on Monday here in Nevada, you can be arrested for today.
Bath Salts come in innocent enough looking packaging.
But contained inside are crystals which can be mixed with alcohol, injected in veins or smoked.
The result is a feeling of euphoria.
But it will also include heart palpitations, disorientation, and sometimes extreme paranoia and violence.
Dr. Cari Croghan works at Renown's E.R. and remembers seeing her first case nearly one year ago.
“He was extremely paranoid and anxious, agitated writhing around on the bed couldn't sit still, heart rate was high. He was very sweaty lots of tears coming out of his eyes. He was 14,’’ says Dr. Croghan
Dr. Croghan says she's only seen a handful of patients since that time.
Nevertheless law enforcement believes teenagers and others were attracted to this drug for a couple of reasons.
First: its affects.
“From a drug users point of view there is a certain amount of euphoria that they feel is really the reason they take the drug in the first place,” says Dr. Bill Anderson, a toxicologist with Washoe County’s Forensic Science Division.
Another reason for the popularity of "bath salts" at least here in Nevada, it was perfectly legal to buy them and take them.
That's because state law didn't prohibit the actual chemicals used to make the drug.
But now that that has changed, law enforcement says it has the ability to crack down on dealers and users alike.
“Here locally n Reno we have had a person that burned how a house as a result of that paranoid. I believe in the county they had a domestic violence stabbing, so there have been deaths associated to this nationally. So it's a problem. Now we have the tools to deal with it,” says Lt. Scott Dugan with Reno Police..