Homeless inject bath salts to get legal high

By honourableone · Oct 4, 2009 · ·
  1. honourableone
    A HOMELESS charity has expressed serious concern after learning that increasing numbers of rough sleepers on the Southside are intravenously using a legally available substance to get high.

    This particular type of bath salts is said to cause the same adverse side effects of highly addictive crack cocaine if not used for its intended purpose.

    Abusers of the herbal powder, known as 'Snow', which is legally available in some so called 'head shops' in Dublin, exhibit aggressive behaviour and suffer from hallucinations, according to the Dublin Simon Community.
    Catherine Kenny, who is communications officer with Dublin Simon, said homeless people they have encountered are buying the product, which is sold in powder form as a 'bath salt'.

    However, she said those who buy ‘Snow’ often snort it like cocaine and also inject it.

    “For the person taking it, the substance is like cocaine but regarding the behaviour displayed it is similar to crack cocaine,” she said. “But it also lasts longer so users exhibit agitated behaviour, aggression and hallucinations. The effects of the drug can last for up to eight hours instead of two to three hours.

    “We are seeing an alarming increase in users of this drug,” she added. “It is supposed to be used as a bath salt but some people snort it and the majority of the people we are encountering inject it.

    “That is big concern for us, particularly since it is legally available.”

    She added that Dublin Simon and other homeless charities were worried about the substance as it is a very new phenomenon and little is known about the long-term physical and psychological health effects it could have on users.

    Southside People spoke to an employee at one head shop in Dublin, who said ‘Snow’ was on sale at the premises for e15 for a half gramme and e30 for a gramme.

    Asked how the product was sold and how users were supposed to take it, he said: “We sell it as a bath salt. I cannot legally tell you what you can or cannot do with it but if you use your imagination I am sure you will have a laugh.”

    Asked if users had suffered any adverse effects after taking the substance, he simply added: “Not that I know of”.

    Tony Geoghegan, the director of Southside based Merchants Quay Ireland, which provides a range of services to thousands of homeless people and drug users each year, said he was concerned about the potential health effects of the substance.

    “A number of guys have been telling me that they are injecting it,” he confirmed. “They say they love it and that it is better quality than the cocaine you can buy on the street. Also, it is cheaper obviously because it is shifting for e15 for a half a gramme in the head shops.

    “It is a worry for sure because we have no idea what is in it,” he added. “People are injecting it and some people are snorting it. We haven't seen any bad physical effects from it yet. But certainly people on it can be agitated, as they are on speed or coke. I don't think it is physically addictive but as with cocaine it would be psychologically addictive.”

    A spokesperson for the Department of Health confirmed that ‘Snow’ was legal as it is not currently an item scheduled under Misuse of Drugs legislation. However, she said the situation, as with other products currently on sale at head shops, was under review.

    “The list of scheduled substances is kept under ongoing review,” she said. “For example, in 2006 psychotropic (‘magic’) mushrooms, which were on sale in such outlets, were banned and their possession and sale is now illegal. On March 31 2009, BZP was similarly subjected to legislative control measures and criminal sanctions.”

    She added that the Minister of State at the Department of Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, John Curran, who has responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, is currently considering the options available to more effectively control the activities of head shops.

    By Dublin People, Wednesday 30th of September 2009
    Original Source: http://www.dublinpeople.com/content/view/2429/57/

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  1. Abrad
    For clarification, the Snow product appears to me mephedrone cut with some inert substance.

    I am unaware of any lab analysis but SWIM is quite sure of this.
  2. trips-a-hoy
    wow, sounds kind of dangerous....
  3. Alfa
    How long will it take until either the government or the underworld attacks the headshops in Ireland?
  4. Abrad
    Indeed, I predict either arson attacks or Garda raids in the near future.
  5. Samadhi
    Bath salts? really...

    this is what will ruin the new batch of 'legal e highs'. they have already claimed a life or two and now are starting to be sold in headshops... remember what happened to 2c-t-7 when that happened?
  6. Birkill
    Charge used to be sold in the uk under the pretence of bath salts and i thought snow was that really shitty cheap one that just had shite loads of caffiene in???
  7. MrG
    Set the clock to one minute to midnight.

    The hammer is going to fall on "Legal Highs" and there is little to be done as long as stories of 'dangerous' homeless types, shooting up 'bath salts', possibly near schools, keep hitting the headlines.

    Maybe it would be better to be seen, as a community, to be against these headshop products that are sold as being not for human consumption, therefore untested, unregulated and, on the whole, of unknown content or quality. I don't see any other stance we could take that would achieve anything more constructive.
  8. Synchronium
    Those sites that sell these things for human consumption will get bollocked by the MHRA. A well known vendor was made to stop selling salvia for that very reason.
  9. Alfa
    I dont the culprit is how they are selling it, but what they are selling. For example: Im not too concerned that Coca-Cola does not list its full recipe on the label. However, Ivory Wave dose and effects is very worrying. There is a line thats being crossed here.
  10. Abrad
    I couldn't agree more. This should now be an excercise in damage control.
  11. corvardus
    How would you propose this?

    The problem is secrecy is at the heart of these products in order to make it more difficult for the regulating authorities to catch and clamp down on the product. Testing really is done when "concern" is raised by the product.

    Example: A friend of mine who started with Spice as her first "drug" experience was back in 2006 it took almost 2 years for the constituents of Spice to be discovered (JWH-018) and another 2 years for the regulations to catch up. Meaning nearly 4 whole years for consumers to enjoy the product.

    The bottom line is that there is a very hostile environment for legals to flourish. Without exception anything that gets anyone high is eventually banned. Until the government has a more rational drugs policy and when legals are given permission by the government to exist on their own merits would it be profitable for the legals industry to "up front" test their products.

    Until that changes I can't see that as a community we could do much to change this, apart from boycotting them. The very nature of the community would mean that an effort would be futile.
  12. MrG
    There is every reason to want to be seen as opposing the dangerous marketing of these substances. Joe-public would like to think that we are stupid/reckless enough to actually want these things available for use, instead of the fact being that most of us see them as the potential harm that they really are.

    Spice took a long time to hit the radar because nobody was making headlines as a result of using it. These 'bath salts' have every chance of killing a few people within a short space of time of their release to the public and we shouldn't be seen to be reluctant to condemn them.

    I've said this before and I'll say it again, those who have an interest in promoting a more balanced approach to drug legislation need to be seen by the voting public as actually having both the morals and the good sense to know what is acceptable and what isn't.

    It might be something out of left field but, open your mind real wide now, an approach to the relevant drug bodies with the information we, as a forum, can gather about these dangerous products, would go a long, long, way to garnering their respect and, maybe, their ear. Imagine if the tabloids could report that a drug community got together to help stem the flow of these dangerously unregulated 'Bath Salts'?
  13. Benga
    I agree with the above, yet there's no easy solution.

    I do think there are two main lines now :

    stimulant R.C.'s would have to become R.C.'s again, ie untested research chemicals, with a relatively low key distribution- which should NOT be made available as "legal highs", or sold in the legal high circuit, for human consumption or not, this is not the point. What is is important is what is being sold to consummers, and the way that this is done.
    I've no clue how / if this is possible, as there is obviously no ethical concern from vendors about user safety.

    a first line was crossed with the piperazine pills, then a major one with the israeli legal high company which first marketed mephedrone pills as legal highs. mephedrone can, from a certain perspective seem bad enough, with heavy suspicion of nasty side effects and use related deaths, yet it seems that the Irish headshops are now issuing even more problematic products.
    this is self-destructive.

    other precedents of RC's in headshops, methylone and 2C-B 2CT 7 where quickly stamped out by governmental action, keeping methylone out of the smart/headshops for a while. i've tried to trace this movement here : http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/sho...d.php?p=680592
    but now, what were once confined to the limited RC's market are becoming the norm in "legal highs / party pill" distribution circuit.

    As for the headshop / legal high vendors themselves, a clean-up is needed.
    maybe an independent body could be created, dedicated to evaluating products sold and minimum ethical requirements.
    The body could contact the vendors, asking them to meet certain standards. bad players could be publicly blackballed.
    those meeting the requirements would be allowed to display this on the website, a kind of "ethical charter"

    yes, there are of course plenty issues with this : first, the secrecy of ingredients and specific grey area requirements, something already discussed in this thread secret ingredients in "legal highs" , publicity and exposure issues, sources, etc etc
    yet if this doesn't come from "the business" itself (which is diverse and unorganised as can be), it should really come from elsewhere. the current situation is really devastating for those in favour of drug reform and responsible substance use.
    At the moment the only movement in this direction is tabloid hyped government repression, so any ethical, constructive alternative would be welcome.

    this current movement, swing in the legal high business will only bring about swift repression, and, i hate to give fodder to the tabloids, but yes also possible deaths / severe health issues for users- just look at the reports here on D.F., no need to pickup a tabloid... this, in a way, and I hate to say this, justifies the coming repression.
    an Ivory wave / vanilla sky like product, sold by a headshops, is simply not acceptible if it sends 80% of users in three day psychotic states.

    One cannot call for responsible, mature, educated substance use when the substance sold has little to no margin for such use, is totally untested, and peddled by irresponsible, immature and uneducated vendors who won't even go as far as warning their customers and/or giving them safe use protocols when their product is reportedly problematic !

    this situation is of course a by-product of the current drug prohibition. Yet imo anti-prohibitionism and reform can only work if people are willing to play the game correctly, not cash in on something because/while it's legal. this is a criminal underworld mentality which goes against harm reduction, against educated responsible use, a totally self-destructive swing.
    mass distribution of untested products, some with already obvious side-effects is not, imo what harm reduction is all about.

    we cannot pretend to responsible generalised use of an unknown product,
    Experimental use, investigations, bio-assays, research, yes, but since when did experimentations become mass distribution of novel stimulants in headshops, to the party crowd ?
    and a few rather "neutral" experiments (synthethic cannabinoid laced smoking blends) cannot justify what is being done with stimulant R.C.'s. It's all about what is being sold, what is generally know / accepted about it, and how this is done.
    the world has indeed changed, and this may become a downside of our current system. R.C.'s are fine. New substances are fine. yet if L.S.D.25 was discovered today, the chem. report would probably be ripped from a swiss researcher communication webside, synthed in China and the product sold by an Irish webshop as an essential oil, Orangey Tangy, "just add a few drops to a glass of water to scent up your house"...
    the entire concept of R.C.'s is imo severely shattered by this recent unethical mass distribution of untested stimulants, and the already existing consequences.

    I would have not written this a few years back, but i do think that there is an urgent need for a severe ethical sweep in what this "legal high" / R.C. business has now become, with commercial practices similar to those of the criminal underworld.

  14. Synchronium
    I posted this thread inspired by the comments here. Let's at least try and analyse the situation before any kind of recommendations are made or other actions are taken.
  15. Coconut
    I don't really understand the pathetic attitude of head shops and their suppliers. They have a responsibility - which cannot be ignored or evaded without consequences - to ensure the complete safety of their customers. Labelling something as a "bath salt" and not providing any other information is just asking for trouble. I understand this tactic is to avoid attention from the state but it is having the opposite effect; with no safe use information provided on the packaging, people don't know how to use the substances without risking their health.

    This had let to the prohibition of Spice, BZP and many more are on the "to-do" list.

    I don't see what would be so hard to sell something like this:



    10 x 100mg capsules.

    Then followed by chemical, dosage and safety information.
  16. Alfa
    It would be illegal to do that.
  17. corvardus
    Hai2u Medicine. If they, for one second admit this was for human consumption even as a "smoke" then it would be required to undergo stage 1 clinical trials, stage 2 clinical trials, then Stage 3 clinical trials to even hit the market.

    The drug would be banned before it even hit stage 2. The scientific testing required for it would be the documents used in banning it. End of product.

    Headshops and the "legals" industry are relying on the lethargy of the scientific and legislative procedures to give themselves a good period before their products are banned and thus gain the highest profit before having to find another way to get people high.

    First by not making it fall foul of the medicines regulations (i.e. This is for human consumption, this is how you take it). Second by not giving the key ingredient out making the scientists have to A) Determine what it is made of and B) Prove the chemical they think it is is actually the one that gets you high.

    That is how they keep the legals... erm... legal for as long as possible. This is how they do business. They have to, or they die.

    It might be morally reprehensible, but without them people would have to resort to illegal drugs in order to get high and many don't want to do business with a shadey character with dreadlocks selling you god knows mixed with rat poison.

    Many will take the risk of the legals because they consider it safer purchase both in terms of legality, convenience and the perceived dangers associated with a drug dealer.
  18. AceOvArts
    You need a license to sell alcohol and a license to sell pharmaceuticals but no license to sell research chemicals. This is where the whole thing is completely flawed. The RC situation provides a the perfect opportunity to start to license the sale of ANY drug (even drugs that are now illegal). However, of course what will happen will be the continuing game of cat and mouse, ultimately outlawing any new RC regardless of its potential.
    It will be the standard heavy handed approach rather than putting chemicals through rigorous tests before they are deemed fit for human consumption (not that that has ever really mattered to those who want to get high at any cost).

    However, it is a very gray area, how can someone be stopped from synthesizing a chemical and marketing it as NOT for human consumption ? How can this ever be policed ?
  19. MrG
    It can't be policed to the benefit of the consumer because the mechanism of how it is brought to market has no regulation or control or, more importantly, any incentive to do so because that would imply complicit acceptance of the manufacture and sale of recreational drugs that are deemed as undesirable by those in power.

    So it can only be banned, one substance at a time. As long as that substance is not widely used in industry (like GBL) it is quick and easy to simply add it to the list of banned drugs, restricting its use to those who might hold a valid license to do so, like *actual* research companies.
  20. AceOvArts
    Yes dead right MrG...thats the problem, no incentive.
    How could an incentive be created ?
    I very much doubt it could unless the goverment made a market for it by licensing it. Then big bucks could be made but it aint ever gonna happen.
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