Reporter: Rachel Schaerr | Videographer: Ira Quillen
Lynchburg, VA - Bath salts might sound harmless, but it's something every parent needs to know about. The illegal designer street drug has been linked to violent delusions and even death.
Although Lynchburg police say they have not had any cases involving bath salts in the last year, it hasn't stopped many in our area from taking action before it becomes a problem.
Bath salts can be smoked, injected, snorted, or eaten -- and the effects are similar to synthetic LSD.
One Virginia man, who asked to remain anonymous, admits he's a former user.
"Unfortunately for myself it was about a week or so, where I was very scared. I would panic a little bit. I was stuttering at the mouth. My frontal lobe didn't seem to be there. My clarity wasn't there," he explained.
Emergency room doctors often have to wait hours for the high to wear off and the symptoms can be scary.
"There were people coming in in straight jackets, being put in isolation. They ended up in Western State because their minds did not come back," said Mike Powell, another admitted user.
A Florida man who police shot and killed after gnawing another man's face off is shining the spotlight on the drug many consider a growing problem. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported they received 300 calls about reactions to the drug in 2010. And by the next year, that number ballooned to more than 6,100.
"The potency of these chemicals is anywhere from three times what you think you're consuming to 20 times what you think you're consuming," explained Delegate Scott Garrett, who helped sponsor a bill banning K2 Spice and bath salts in Virginia.
But he says drug dealers are finding ways around the law, like sticking labels on the packaging that say not for human consumption. And chemists are changing the drug's make-up, making it difficult for the law to catch up.
Beginning July 1 2012, a broader law will go into effect to include more varieties of the drug. But Garrett says fighting it begins at home.