EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

June 12, 2012

Bath salt abuse moves into Southern N.H.

After police seized more than $100,000 worth of bath salts and other synthetic drugs from a Plaistow store, other local departments are on the lookout for the drugs in their communities.

Police responded to a medical call for a woman behaving erratically on Friday who later admitted to taking bath salts. Later that day, police and sheriff's deputies raided the Foods Plus grocery store at 5 Plaistow Road for selling the drugs and are continuing to investigate.

Bath salt abuse only recently spread to New Hampshire. The Plaistow raid was the first of its kind in Rockingham County, according to Sheriff Michael Downing, but the problem is here.

"It's a problem throughout the entire country," he said. "Obviously, it's being sold locally. I believe we're the first to find it in this area. We've taken a stand to enforce the law and try to get these off the street because they're very harmful."

Bath salts are synthetic stimulants found in a number of products, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The powder is sold in small foil or plastic packets and can be ingested by snorting, smoking, swallowing or injecting into veins. People who abuse bath salts report feeling delusions, panic attacks and suicidal thoughts along with experiencing nosebleeds, vomiting and a rapid heart rate that can cause heart attacks and strokes, according to the DEA.

"It's a growing problem," Downing said. "There's been incidences throughout the country where bath salts have been involved with bizarre crimes. It's relatively inexpensive and that's probably what the draw is."

A recent case in Florida is being blamed on bath salts. There, police shot and killed a naked man who chewed off the face of another man in broad daylight by a highway.

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