Inside the World of a "Bath Salts" Drug User (KTVA.com Exclusive)
A terrifying look into the life of young people using the controversial synthetic drug
In Congress ,Alaska Senior Senator Lisa Murkowski helped pass a national bill that cracks down on the use of synthetic drugs – including bath salts and spice (synthetic marijuana).
In 2011, Annals of Emergency Medicine published a study saying the first record of bath salts appearing was in Germany in 2007. In 2010, the American Association of Poison Control Center reported it received 303 calls with people reacting to the drug. By 2011 that number skyrocketed to 6,100.
The number of bath salts related incidents in Alaska is hard to track. “Bath salts exposure or use is not something we track here,” said spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Services Greg Wilkinson.
In a case series by the State of Alaska Epidemiology, they looked at three patients who were all admitted to Alaska Hospitals for various reasons. A 24-year-old man had severe abdominal pain, a 42-year-old man was being evaluated for delirium and serotonin syndrome and a 55-year-old woman was quickly admitted into a critical care unit after going into cardiac arrest.
They all eventually admitted to using bath salts, but a drug test never detected it.
Jake said he’s not scared of the consequences and refers to the substance as “just another drug.” He recalls his first drug – mushrooms. He took them at the age of 13. His father thought it would be a nice way to introduce him to his teenage years: It was his birthday.
“When I first did it, I remember, colors seemed brighter and life seemed better, but no one gets addicted to ‘shrooms. It’s just not that kind of drug.”
In the time that followed he smoked marijuana and opium, took ecstasy, shot up heroin, smoked meth, tripped on LSD and PCP... He popped painkillers and favored OxyContin. He laughed hard at the mention of “spice,” the recently banned synthetic marijuana. “That doesn’t count.”
He continued reciting his list, describing the effect each substance took on his body.
“All in all though, cocaine was my kryptonite. I mean I love cocaine. I don’t love anything the same way. I play with other stuff, but after I do bath salts a few times I will just do blow. It’s easy. Easy to find, easy to do, easy to love.
“I mean I don’t do blow if I am doing bath salts, and I do like bath salts, but it’s different. It can be hard to handle.”
He’s thought about quitting and getting help, but he said it would be pointless to try. “The treatment centers here don’t give a [expletive] about men. They help women and pregnant women. The rest of us [quit] alone or not at all.”
According to the Center for Drug Problems Clinical Director Ron Greene, there really is no program for people who abuse bath salts, and drug users seeking treatment are wait-listed. The center’s priority is pregnant woman.
“I mean I could quit,” Jake said. “I mean, I don’t think I am addicted to [bath salts]. This is the first time I have done it in like a week,” he says, and happily inhales another line. He leans back in his recliner, closes his eyes and sits without saying anything for two minutes.