Dangerous designer drug wreaks havoc

Scene in Munnsville where police say a woman was high on bath salts and assaulted her own child before she died following a Taser shock.

Bath salts are synthetic drug that users can take just about any way they please â?? eating them, injecting them, snorting or smoking them. But this now-illegal designer drug acts like a dangerous combination of LSD, PCP and cocaine.

"Essentially, it's a drug-induced psychosis,â?? said Clinical Toxicologist Dr. Alexander Garrard from SUNY Upstate Medical University. â?? So they're not who they think they are. They're acting very different from themselves. They don't even recollect what happened to them. They blank out or black out, if you will. And that's maybe perhaps related to some of the cannibalistic behavior. It's really reducing them to primal instincts."

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The cannibalistic behavior resulting from bath salts has been making startling headlines. The first came over Memorial Day weekend when a homeless Miami, Florida man had his face devoured by a man high on bath salts. Another incident in Miami happened on Monday when a half-naked man approached a three-year-old girl on a playground for sex. Police say the man was high on bath salts. Closer to home, a Munnsville woman high on bath salts brutally assaulted her child.

Bath salts also raise body temperature, which might explain why all three removed clothing during their drug-fueled rages.

The drug is also dangerous to first responders, hospital employees, and poison center workers who must treat those high on bath salts. â??I think probably the scariest thing we're seeing right now is this extreme violence and aggression and agitation in the E.R. Because they're not only a harm to themselves, but they're also a harm to other healthcare professionals. And when it takes like 7 or 8 security officers to hold these patients down, you know that's a problem,â?? said Dr. Garrard.

State Poison Control records show that bath salt use is also on the rise. So far this year, the agency has received 141 bath-salt related calls. Thatâ??s up from 118 calls in all of 2011.

â??Itâ??s chemical Russian roulette,â?? said Dr. Garrard. â??You never know when itâ??s going to happen to you.â??

If you or someone you know has a problem with bath salts, you can contact the New York State Poison Center 24 hours a day at 1-800-222-1222.

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