Kentucky continues to target designer drug - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky continues to target designer drug

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB Fox 41) – Officials believe Kentucky is making progress in the fight against a new designer drug. Officials say fewer people are now overdosing on the ‘bath salts,' but it's a substance they expect to be battling for a while.

The drug comes in all sorts of brands and packaging.  Most are marketed as bath salts, others as stain remover or insect repellent. They are labeled 'not for human consumption,' but experts say that's exactly what they're designed for.

"In the community that abuses drugs, it was a replacement for methamphetamine or cocaine as a stimulant," said Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center Director Henry Spiller.

Spiller says bath salts started showing up in gas stations and head shops last summer. Shortly after, users began showing up in the E.R.

"By January, we were seeing 40 or 50 a month, one or two a day," said Spiller.

The Poison Center says bath salts users stand out because many have completely lost touch with reality.

"We had some shooting out windows at people that weren't there, we had one person wade into a river in the middle of January, we had people jump out of windows thinking they were chasing them," said Spiller.

Stories like that prompted Kentucky lawmakers to make many of the chemicals used in bath salts illegal in March. Since then, Spiller says overdoses have dropped to one or two a week.

While the numbers are dropping, the problem, says the poison center, is that these drugs have not been banned everywhere. They're still available, and very much legal, in Indiana.

"We have a number of border states around Kentucky. Missouri, Illinois are other examples where you can kind of step across the border and still get it," said Spiller.

Until other states follow Kentucky's lead, Spiller worries that those who want to will find a way to abuse bath salts.

More than a dozen states have now banned bath salts, and other states have bills pending to ban the drug.

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