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MDCH Warns about Dangers of New Designer Drug

Contact: Kelly L. Niebel (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health, Department of

February 4, 2011

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is warning people to beware of a new designer drug being marketed by the name "bath salts."

These so-called "bath salts" are being sold across the country as a crystalline powder online, at head shops, convenience stores, and on the street. These are not commercially manufactured bath salts that people purchase to use in the bath tub. These products are sold with names such as "Ivory Wave", "Aura", "ZOOM 2", "Zeus 2", "Cosmic Blast", and "White Rush." They may be snorted, ingested mixed with water, injected, or inserted rectally or vaginally.

At this time, hospital emergency departments in Michigan have reported 18 cases related to the use of "bath salts" in the past four weeks, many of which have been in the Marquette area. Many of the people treated in emergency departments have been young adults in their 20s and 30s. Similar reports have been seen in states across the country.

The "bath salt" products may contain a number of synthetic chemicals including Methylmethcathinone or Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDVP), both of which are strong stimulants that can cause increased heart rate, chest pains, dizziness, delusions, panic attacks, nose bleeding and nausea. Patients ingesting these chemicals can be extremely paranoid and may not respond to usual calmatives. Some have been involved in homicides and suicides while under the influence. Many describe being chased by demons, gods, aliens or foreign soldiers. Severe cases may require long-term psychiatric care.

"We are very concerned about the use of this dangerous product. These stimulants affect neurotransmitters in the brain which can result in violent behavior and death," said Dr. Gregory Holzman, MD, Chief Medical Executive for MDCH.

MDCH is working closely with the Michigan Poison Control Center to monitor the number of patients treated for use of "bath salts" in emergency departments across the state. Health care providers are being asked to send all information on suspect cases directly to the Michigan Poison Control Center.

Individuals with "bath salt" related medical concerns or questions are asked to call the Michigan Toxic Hotline at (800) 648-6942.