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“Emergency department visits after use of a drug sold as 'bath salts' --- Michigan, November 13, 2

“Emergency department visits after use of a drug sold as 'bath salts' --- Michigan, November 13, 2

  1. Jatelka
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011 May 20;60(19):624-7

    On February 1, 2011, in response to multiple news reports, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) contacted the Children's Hospital of Michigan Poison Control Center (PCC) regarding any reports of illness in the state caused by the use of recreational designer drugs sold as "bath salts." Unlike traditional cosmetic bath salts, which are packaged and sold for adding to bath water for soaking and cleaning, the drugs sold as "bath salts" have no legitimate use for bathing and are intended for substance abuse. These products can contain stimulant compounds such as 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) or 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone). The PCC told MDCH that, earlier in the day, the PCC had learned that numerous persons had visited the local emergency department (ED) in Marquette County with cardiovascular and neurologic signs of acute intoxication. This report summarizes the subsequent investigation, which identified 35 persons who had ingested, inhaled, or injected "bath salts" and visited a Michigan ED during November 13, 2010--March 31, 2011. Among the 35 patients, the most common signs and symptoms of toxicity were agitation (23 patients [66%]), tachycardia (22 [63%]), and delusions/hallucinations (14 [40%]). Seventeen patients were hospitalized, and one was dead upon arrival at the ED. The coordinated efforts of public health agencies, health-care providers, poison control centers, and law enforcement agencies enabled rapid identification of this emerging health problem. Mitigation of the problem required the execution of an emergency public health order to remove the toxic "bath salts" from the marketplace. Lessons from the Michigan experience could have relevance to other areas of the United States experiencing similar problems