Salem, MO - Bath salts have been in the news lately. Overdoses and deaths from the synthetic designer drug have recently prompted Alton, Granite City and St. Charles County to ban bath salts.
State lawmakers in both Missouri and illinois are proposing to outlaw them. The city of Salem, Missouri is talking about it as well. But one Salem man says there's a lot of confusion about bath salts that's hurting his business.
In the heart of Salem, Missouri is a store with a sign that reads, "The coolest shop around." Crossroads Corner owner, John Watson, takes pride in his products.
"Oils, fragrance oils, you got your bath salts, incense," Watson said. But wait, did Watson say bath salts?
He makes his own bath salts too. His product line is called Astral Sea, sold in 100 stores nationwide and on the Internet. His are the kind you bathe in. That's the only use.
So imagine his surprise when the City of Salem wanted to ban bath salts.
"It's been an unusual experience," Watson said.
Nowadays, there are two bath salts. One variety claims to be, but is not. It's a designer synthetic drug marketed as bath salts. The powder has effects similar to cocaine and meth and priced about the same.
Then there are your old fashioned bath salts. But with all the negative press lately, Watson's sales took a dive. He points out proposed state legislation making "bath salts" Illegal.
"They're just saying bath salts and that's scaring people," Watson said.
Watson says he knows his bath salts can't possibly be banned, but he says it almost happened because the drug's name confused people in the City of Salem too.
"One of the alderman was kind enough to admit that originally that's what they thought," he said.
Salem Mayor Gary Brown says the city has no comment about the proposed bath salt ban, except to say that it's on hold until the city sees what the state does.
People from all around have heard Watson sells bath salts, they've asked for them, but they came in looking for the drug.
"I look at them and say I don't carry that. What I carry is bath salts, the kind grandmother uses, the stuff mom had in a jar, that's the stuff I carry," said Watson.
Watson's bath salts are made with all natural salts and oils, with added fragrances. The street bath salts contains MDPV, a potent psychoactive drug.
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Maker of real bath salts upset by confusion the street drug is creating