A synthetic drug that nearly killed a Des Allemands teen last month has been banned by Gov. Bobby Jindal in an emergency rule. The rule makes it illegal to sell, use, buy or manufacture the chemicals used in fake bath salts.
The product, which is listed under many names including “Cloud Nine” and “White Dove,” is marketed as a bath salt but narcotics investigators say it is a deadly and dangerous hallucinogenic speed when ingested.
“We have sent detectives to all stores and advised owners of the new rule. All were receptive and agreed to remove the items from the shelves,” St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said. “One even called us asking us to come and get the salts and dispose of them.”
The dangers of the “bath salts” hit home for one Des Allemands mother last month. The mother, who wished to remain anonymous, said her son was given the substance by a family member and snorted it. The boy ingested the product a day before his 17th birthday.
“He came home and right away I could tell that something wasn’t right,” the mother said. “He could barely talk and he had a dead stare. His eyes were black and he couldn’t keep still…he kept grabbing at his chest.”
After noticing her son’s severe reactions, the mother took him to Ochsner St. Anne General Hospital in Raceland. She said that he was immediately hooked up to an EKG and that his heart rate was jumping between 60 beats per minute to 140 beats per minute.
“It was constantly running back and forth,” the mother said. “They had to give him a shot to stabilize him.”
When her son returned home from the hospital, the mother said it took three days for the substance to get out of his system.
“Two days after it happened he still wasn’t blinking and he had that blank stare,” the mother said. “A police officer came over to speak to him at the house and told me that my son looked like he was still comatose.”
Louisiana poison control authorities have logged 165 calls since September from people in crisis after smoking or injecting the substances, Jindal said.
Many hardcore drug abusers have said that the bath salts are the worst drug they’ve ever had, and that its effects can last for as long as six days. Experts say the side effects of the chemical resemble those of amphetamines – extreme paranoia, chest pains, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and insomnia.
“I just have to wonder why we even have to tell people not to smoke or snort things like this,” Champagne said.
Champagne added that if someone decides to drink Drano, should there be a law to ban it?
“Where does it end?” he said. “See my point – a law is not the answer to all problems.”
The emergency rule adds six chemicals found in the illicit bath salts to the Controlled Dangerous Substance Act. The six, according to a Governor’s Office news release, are: 3,4-Methylenedioxymethcathinone, 3,4-Methyenedioxypyrovalerone, 4-Methylmethcathinone, 4-methoxymethcathinone, 4-Fluoromethcathinone, and 3-Fluoromethcathinone.