A powerful new drug linked to violence has been reported in Edmonton just a week after a scary account about bath salts was published in Nova Scotia.
Edmonton police are worried after finding a drug known as bath salts on the city's streets.
Judging by experiences in the United States, the cops are right to be concerned.
Bath salts are made by amateur druggies out of chemicals such as mephedrone, MDPV, and methylone. It's a good bet that each batch made by each clandestine drug lab is different from every other batch, making the use of the end product a true crap shoot for the addict.
And there will be addicts here in Canada.
"Users say as soon as they stop using, they want to snort again," an Edmonton detective told a reporter.
Just a single use of bath salts could be enough to turn a user into an addict. In addition to the terrible social spin-offs of addiction – sick users and crime to support the habit – bath salts users are prone to delusions and can become violent.
It's alleged that the man killed after eating another man's face in Miami last week had consumed bath salts prior to the attack. He reportedly growled at police who shouted at him to stop and was hit by a number of bullets before dying.
A Nova Scotiaman who spoke with a reporter last week said he went through an awful time after taking bath salts.
"(I) felt like I wanted to kill me or kill somebody else," he said after an eight-day binge.
He added that paranoia left him "hiding under the blankets." What's even scarier is that the Nova Scotia man said he had plenty of experience with other street drugs before the bath salts episode.
Surprisingly, the ingredients needed to make bath salts are readily available, and once the drug has been produced, it's not illegal in Canada. That can be expected to change quickly but making it illegal to possess or produce won't solve the problem. There are many illegal drugs in this country that are still easy to find so imagining a law will solve the problem is just wishful thinking.
The government can go one step further and restrict access to the ingredients. That may mean a commercial drug currently on store shelves becomes available only through a prescription. It seems a small price to pay for making the world a little safer.
The next step will cost some money. Nothing short of a massive public education campaign will take a bite out of the potential for an epidemic of bath salts use.
The health effects for users include kidney failure, heart attack, as well as aggression and death. The medical expenses and the cost of rehabilitating addicts are hundreds of times greater than prevention, and that's before you add in the pain and suffering of victims of crime or violence left in an addict's wake.
Today it's bath salts, but you can be sure the next designer drug is already being cooked up. We need a strategy to deal with homemade drugs before they appear on our streets.
TV and radio ads, billboards, newspaper ads and social media should be employed quickly. The message needs to get through to everyone: if you don't know who made a drug or what they put in it, why take a chance?
No one would eat a meal prepared by an anonymous cook in a sketchy kitchen, and the drugs you put into your body deserve at least that much consideration.
Should society invest in drug prevention? Or are drug users responsible for making the right choices?
04/06/2012 8:30:00 AM
by Nevil Hunt
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