Everett police warn about the dangers of ‘bath salts’

  • By Rikki King Herald Writer
  • Friday, July 8, 2011 12:01am
  • Local News

They won’t scent a steamy tub with lavender, but they could cause organ failure and profuse bleeding.

That’s right — bath salts have come to Snohomish County.

An Everett man was named in federal court last month as the suspected ringleader in the mass distribution of “bath salts,” a street name for chemical compounds that mimic hard drugs. Bath salts also were linked to a homicide and suicide during a police chase near Olympia in April.

People started calling the concoctions “bath salts” to circumvent federal drug rules. The chemists switch up the formulas to stay ahead of the law.

The drugs came of age a little after “K2” or “Spice,” street names for a drug commonly described as synthetic marijuana.

That’s a misnomer, said Mark Brinkman, a Lynnwood police officer and drug recognition expert. Substances that people call synthetic marijuana are much worse and far less predictable, he said.

The Everett Police Department sent out a training bulletin to officers about “bath salts” and similar drugs a few weeks back, Sgt. Robert Goetz said.

Everett’s crime prevention team spent Thursday visiting stores they thought might be sought out by bath salts distributors, Goetz said.

“Our approach is we try to be proactive at the distribution locations, letting them know the liabilities they have in selling this type of product,” he said.

The department also is sending out educational materials to neighborhood groups, Goetz said. Everett police haven’t seen many issues arise from the drugs so far, but they want people to know about the dangers.

As of late June, the Washington Poison Center had seen about 76 calls involving bath salts this year. The center had one call about bath salts in 2010, said Dr. Thomas Martin, associate medical director with the center.

They had nearly 90 calls about Spice last year, and about 70 so far this year, he said.

The state has placed an emergency ban on bath salts, said Donn Moyer, a spokesman for the state Department of Health. It is expected to become permanent.

The ban makes it illegal to make, sell, deliver or possess the drug, Moyer said. The ban was filed April 15. A similar rule for Spice went into effect in January.

Bath salts and Spice are more toxic than typical recreational drugs, said Martin, the Poison Center doctor.

The side effects of bath salts include higher blood pressure, a higher heart rate and higher body temperature. They can cause people to become delirious, delusional, combative and sometimes psychotic. The effects can last for days.

The drugs aren’t regulated, so there’s no set “dose,” he said. The concentration and the cocktail of chemicals varies from packet to packet.

Because the drugs are so new, there’s no research about their pharmacology and how they affect the body long-term, he said.

Some people have tried to get high using normal bath salts, Brinkman said.

That doesn’t work.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

Get help, answers

If you or a loved one has taken bath salts or similar designer drugs or have any questions, call the Washington Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

The state Department of Health department keeps answers to frequently asked questions about K2/Spice and bath salts here: http://tinyurl.com/dohbathsalts

More in Local News

Turkey talk: Kindergartners explain the Thanksgiving holiday

Our annual pilgrimage led us this year to Pathfinder Kindergarten Center in Everett.

Police locate suspect in Snohomish River after he fled

They used a thermal-imaging camera to locate the man in the water near Dagmars Marina.

Electrical fire on roof of Marysville school extinguished

There was no apparent structural damage to Cascade Elementary School.

As police closed in, 2 heavily armed pot-shop robbers fled

Cops surrounded the place in Mountlake Terrace. The suspects were tracked by dogs and apprehended nearby.

Hiker rescued on Boulder River trail after 15-foot fall

She was reported to have possible leg and rib fractures.

Alleged philanderer attacked with hammer near Everett

His girlfriend had accused him of cheating and allegedly called on another man to confront him.

Snohomish County Council passes a no-new-taxes budget

The spending plan still funds the hiring of five new sheriff’s deputies and a code enforcement officer.

In Sultan, there was a seat at the table for everyone

Every year, the town’s community dinner ensures no one has to dine alone on Thanksgiving.

Most Read