The news has been flooded lately with articles about bath salts. While they sound rather benign, bath salts in today’s world have little to do with soothing your feet or obtaining a smooth overall look to your skin. What’s being discussed are substances sold as bath salts, but which typically contain one of several drugs, more often than not the drugs known as MDPV (methylenedioxypyrovalerone) or mephedrone. These are powerful stimulants that also produce hallucinations, paranoia and, in some cases, suicidal thoughts.
Until recently, drugs such as MDPV remained largely unknown. For example, until October of last year, it was not even illegal under federal law. As the result of an emergency order by the Drug Enforcement Administration, it became a Schedule I drug (no medical treatment value and high potential for abuse), although the emergency classification lasts for only one year.
We bring this up because of a rash of recent behavior, in the Phoenix area and elsewhere, where the particulars of the cases can only be described as bizarre. Last week two incidents in our area were reported that point to the possible use of bath salts:
- Police in Scottsdale arrested a man suspected of carjacking, as well as causing two collisions resulting in injuries to seven people. After the first collision, the man allegedly got out of one of the vehicle, removed his clothing, and began screaming at the top of his lungs. While neither MDPV nor mephedrone were specifically mentioned in the article, it does contain a notation that the man was being evaluated for drug and psychiatric issues.
- In Prescott, police responded to a report that a naked man had stolen a car at a campground. Shortly after the owner contacted the police, he heard a crash, and the alleged thief was found standing next to the car naked. The suspect admitted being addicted to bath salts, and was taken to the hospital, where he was placed in the intensive care unit.
These incidents come on the heels of a host of reports from throughout the country concerning bath salts and criminal behavior. They include a Florida man who was eating the face of a homeless person before being shot by police when he refused to desist. An Austin man jumped off a bridge and stripped off his clothing before assaulting an EMS worker. And in Miami a man attempted to eat the hand of a police officer while barking like a dog.
We have to say that while bath salts have been blamed as the likely culprit in most of these incidents, there is no quick way to detect these drugs in someone’s system. There simply is no instrument like a Breathalyzer or Intoxilyzer to measure the presence of MDPV or mephedrone on the spot. But we can’t fault witnesses who suspect the use of the drugs, given the behavior they’ve seen. And we expect to hear more about these drugs as use of bath salts and other newly developed designer drugs continue to populate the illegal drug market.
If you have been charged with a drug-related offense, contact an experienced Phoenix drug crimes defense lawyer to protect your interests.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004