Bath salts: Nothing to do with a bath

Latest reports advise that in 2011 there were 23,000 ER visits related to bath salts across the U.S. While the use of bath salts appears, by statistics, to be going down, some law enforcement agents say they are seeing more of it. At a recent ADAPT (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team) Coalition meeting, Brian McLaughlin of the Columbiana County Drug Task Force reported that bath salts are a problem in our community.

“Bath salts” also known as “plant food,” is a synthetic drug that, according to published reports, “is more potent and potentially addictive than methamphetamine.” Sources say that China is the source.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 6,136 calls related to bath salts in 2011. There were 304 calls in 2010 and in 2012, 2,656 calls. During the first half of this year there were only 528 calls.

Symptoms of use are agitation, anxiety, elevated heart rates and blood pressure, euphoria, hallucinations and psychotic behavior, hyper-alertness and loss of motor control. Cathione is the base of bath salts and comes from “khat” which is found in Somalia and the Arabian Peninsula. Bath salts can be taken by mouth, inhaled or injected. Abuse of bath salts can lead to suicidal thoughts, psychosis, heart and blood pressure problems, depression and death, reports The Partnership at

How easy are bath salts to get? It’s as close as the Internet. In June of this year the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that a Ravenna couple was selling bath salts from their website at $29-$59 per 0.25 grams to 0.5 grams. Bulk packages sold for $299-$459, according to charges against the couple.

In July 2011, Gov. Kasich signed House Bill 64. The law went into effect in October of that year banning bath salts from the state. It is illegal to sell or possess bath salts in Ohio.

In March of this year, authorities discovered a new strain of bath salts in Ohio. It comes in a bag with a similar to cocaine The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office also presents Operation Street Smart, which is coming to Salem in November

Operation Street Smart will take place from 5-9 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Kent State University City Center, 230 N. Lincoln Ave. (formerly Salem Middle School) across the street from Salem News. The program is an award-winning, nationally renowned program presented by undercover officers.

The program provides all the information adults need to help prevent drug use and to recognize it as early as possible. Adults learn information they need to know to recognize the influences of the drug culture on children and the drugs children are confronted with.

Covered during the evening are current drug trends, how young people get drugs, how drugs affect kids behavior, how kids hide their drugs, how they talk about drugs and what adults should listen for. Parents, educators, law enforcement officers and criminal justice professionals, social service agency staff, health care professionals, drug and alcohol professionals and community leaders who are interested in reducing substance abuse, as well as adults who work with and have an interest in the well being of county youth are invited to this event.

The event is free but reservations are required by calling the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board (MHRS) at 330-424-0195. Deadline for reservation is Oct. 28. Refreshments will be served.

Counseling, social work and chemical dependency continuing education credits are offered.

Sponsors of this event are ADAPT Coalition, Drug Task Force, Family Recovery Center (FRC), MHRS Board and Salem Community Hospital.

FRC promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse. The agency invites you to help young people avoid drug abuse by attending Operation Street Smart on Nov. 4. For more information about FRC programming, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or email,