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
ANCHORAGE - Jake leans forward in his navy blue recliner and grabs a clear, 50-milligram bag containing a sparkling white substance – the designer drug known as “bath salts,” which has made headlines across the nation. He plays with it in his fingertips before opening it. He licks the tip of his finger, dips it inside, then puts it in his mouth and sucks the white powder off. “It’s a habit. It’s how I test blow.”
He opens the small sack, and gently taps the side as he pours a pile onto the battered, wooden coffee table in front of him. He cuts it into a line, then snorts it.
He leans back in his chair, pushes his black, messy hair to the side and smiles, highlighting his prominent cheekbones. He looks at ease.
“It truly is bliss. It distorts reality, and makes me feel larger than life and disconnected – in a good way.”
The 22-year-old construction worker, who asked KTVA that we only use his first name, finds escape in a drug that in recent years has become more popular – and deadly. He said it fills a void in his “empty” lifestyle.
On June 6, Governor Sean Parnell signed a piece of legislature that added bath salts (or synthetic cocaine) to the list of Schedule IIA controlled substances – it joins methamphetamine, cocaine and LSD. Bath salts are now illegal to possess, manufacture, sell or distribute.
The bill was originally introduced by Senator Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage) last October and just days after Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan introduced an ordinance to ban the chemical compound that makes up the base of bath salts: mephedrone, methylone (MDMA) methylenedioxpyrovalerone or MDPV.
“These drugs are making people very sick, suicidal and very, very, violent,” said Meyer, in a press release dated October 6, 2011.
The drug was being sold at gas stations and smoke shops, labeled as bath salts, insect repellent, plant food, incense, potpourri or dietary supplements.
“This legislation recognizes the significant threat these substances poses to the health and safety of Alaskans and their communities,” said Governor Parnell in a press release after he signed the bill into law.
The effects of bath salts, or “Bliss,” as Jake refers to it, are described as synthetic cocaine or similar to PCP, methamphetamine or LSD. The compound, also referred to as Ivory Wave, Vanilla Sky or Purple Rain, is a street drug often containing MDPV.
Jake scored the bath salts for $30 from a man who lives in Cooper Landing; a man who Jake said “can get anything, for anyone.” And although he has never purchased it from anyone else, he said the price can very from $25 to $50, depending on whom you buy from. Friends of his buy it online for about the same cost.
Bath salts can be smoked, injected, but Jake prefers to snort the powder. “I know snorting is bad for your nose, but I don’t give a [expletive]. I mean I stopped doing blow because I could feel my nose wasting away,” he pauses, chuckles and shrugs his shoulders. “I think it’s safer than shooting.”