LOCAL anti-drugs groups are warning parents of the dangers of 'legal highs' sold as bath salts in 'head shops' in Drogheda.
Products like 'Charge', 'Ivory Wave' and 'Blow' are sachets of white powder, the main ingredient of which is pure caffeine, which are marketed as bath salts promising a 'euphoric feeling'.
The shops are not doing anything illegal, however Kieran Traynor, a facilitator from the Drogheda Alcohol and Drugs Forum, says he has already heard from a number of youths as young as 16 who have 'snorted' these substances up their nose and have suffered terrible side effects.
'I have been told that taking these sachets has left people with heart palpitations, nausea and even turning blue,' he says.
'Parents need to be made aware that these socalled 'legal-highs' are available in shops in the town and at € 10 to € 30 per sachet, are much cheaper than a night of alcohol.'
A reformed addict said that in his opinion using 'legal highs' like this could be the gateway to using illegal drugs.
'They sell them as bath salts, but I have heard from users they are snorted and the side effects can be terrible,' he said.
'I spoke to one 18year-old girl, who got the shakes, bad panic attacks and loss of sleep after taking one sachet of this stuff.'
However, the owner of one shop which stocks these 'bath salts' says they are 'not encouraging customers to snort the bath salts'.
'We are stocking these products and they are very popular, especially 'Charge', but we can assure you no-one underage bought them from us,' says Darcy Petticrew, owner of the Himalayan Craftshop, Drogheda Town Centre.
When asked if these products are genuine bath salts, and are they actually supposed to be snorted, Mr Petticrew said 'not as far as the packaging claims'.
The Drogheda Independent has seen one of the packages of 'a herbal party snuff' called 'Snow Blow', which was purchased in Headonism in Stockwell Street.
It is a small sachet of white powder, the main ingredient of which is caffeine, and promises 'a euphoric feeling'.
A spokesman for the shop said the 'bath salts' are supposed to be 'sprinkled in the bath and you relax like you are in a spa'.
''Snow Blow' is a herbal party snuff and that would be the only one supposed to be snorted,' he said.
They also have a strict over-18 policy, and always ask for ID.
Gardai in Drogheda say that the shops are not doing anything illegal in selling these products however, they know the items are being sold and they are being looked into.
'We are aware of these 'bath salts' and tests are being done to see what they contain,' said a Drogheda garda spokesman.
'Details of these socalled 'legal-highs' have also been sent to the Medical Council who are looking into them.'
November 11, 2009