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June 7, 2011

Oswego County Health Director Warns about
Use of Dangerous Drugs Sold as 'Bath Salts'

Following up on the New York State Commissioner of Health's recent ban on the sale and distribution of dangerous designer drugs marketed as "Bath Salts," Oswego County Director of Public Health Dennis Norfleet, MD, has issued a warning to those that might consider using these products.

"These are powerful drugs of abuse that can cause severe side effects including increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, vomiting, hallucinations, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, and violent behavior," warned Dr. Norfleet. Use of "bath salts" has also been linked to death.

"These are not products that are commonly sold for bathing in bath and beauty retailers," said Dr. Norfleet. "These products contain chemicals similar to stimulant drugs listed as controlled substances in New York State, such as amphetamines and cocaine."

The products are marketed as "bath salts," plant food, or stain remover under names such as Bliss, Blue Light, Charge, Cloud 9, Ivory Snow, Purple Wave, Snow Leopard, Magic, Red Dove, and Zeus 2, among many others. Packaging varies in colors and is often labeled as "not for human consumption" or "for cleaning purposes" to evade law enforcement scrutiny. These compounds are found in drug paraphernalia or "head shops," convenience stores, gas stations and online.

"Over the past several months, poison control centers throughout the United States have received hundreds of calls regarding instances of poisonings from products containing the subject chemicals, some resulting in accidental death and suicide," stated Dr. Norfleet.

In New York State, Poison Control Centers have reported primary usage in the 20- to 26- year-old age group. Ages ranging between 18 to 48 years old have also been reported.

This drug, and others like it, will most likely be made illegal. In the meantime, Dr. Norfleet urges parents to be aware of what their children are getting involved with, and warn them of the dangers of these substances. For more information follow the Oswego County Health Department on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Oswegocountyhealth and on Twitter OswegoCoHealth or call the health department at 349-3557.

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