Los Angeles County health officials are warning people against the use of an over-the-counter drug commonly known as “bath salts.”
“Bath salts,” also known under the street names of White Lightening, White Rush and Hurricane Charlie, is a synthetic drug that’s been gaining in popularity over the years has recently been linked to violent and bizarre behavior.
The drug is comprised of chemicals that mimic the effects of drugs like cocaine and LSD and is often sold in tobacco or smoke shops under the label of “plant food” or “pond water cleaner.”
Officials warn that the drug should not be consumed, used as plant food or to clean pond water. It should also not be confused with similarly named bath-related products sold in beauty and drug stores.
“Bath salts are particularly dangerous in that not much is known about what goes into the drug and even less is known about what people are capable of while on this drug,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer.
“We do know that there are harmful risks to users, and there is an increased potential for others to be harmed if someone near them is high on this drug.”
Last year, federal authorities issued a ban on chemicals used in the making of the drugs, which include mephedrone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and methylone.
Bath salts recently made headlines after a Deutsche Bank executive who claimed he was beaten and abused by Los Angeles police officers admitted he was under the influence of the drug.
Symptoms of people using bath salts include lack of appetite, decreased need for sleep, sweating, chest pain and rapid heart rate.
More dangerous side effects include seizures, hallucinations, self-mutilation, severe paranoia and kidney and liver failure.