Designer Drugs Being Sold As Bath Salts

Substance Containing Mephedrone Acts As Ecstasy; Available At Denver-Area Head Shops

Head shops in Colorado are selling a new designer drug labeled as "bath salts."

7NEWS found Cloud 9, Bliss and Tranquility bath salts at two different head shops in the Denver metro area. The packages cost $20 to $30 and are labeled for "scentual experiences." Mephedrone is a main ingredient in the substance. 7NEWS has learned the bath salts can be used as a designer drug mimicking the effects of ecstasy.

With a hidden camera, reporter Marshall Zelinger went into two head shops and bought the bath salts with advice from the clerks.

"People tell me that it's incense, that you need to smell real close," said one clerk.

At another head shop, the clerk started off discrete and then removed any doubt.

"Are they incense or are they bath salts? What are they?" asked Zelinger.

"Ah, they're bath salts. They're not an incense. More, something you smell," said the clerk. "That's all about I can say, if you catch my drift. It's all powder."

"What else can you do with it?" asked Zelinger.

"Smell it real close," said the clerk.

"OK, I gotcha," said Zelinger.

"With a straw," said the clerk.

"Is it legal?" asked Zelinger.

"Ah, yeah," said the clerk.

7NEWS checked with the Drug Enforcement Administration and learned that investigators are not devoting a lot of time to bath salts versus heroine and cocaine trafficking. The DEA confirmed that the substance itself is not illegal, but if it's ingested, a person can face federal drug charges.

On the back of the Cloud 9 package, there's a warning, "not for human consumption." On the front of the Bliss package is the warning, "for adult external use only."

Last year 7NEWS discovered K2 spice being sold at head shops and gas stations. When K2 is smoked it provides effects like a drug. The DEA just banned the sale of K2 until it can determine its effects on a person's body.

7NEWS checked with Colorado lawmakers about potential legislation regarding the mephedrone bath salts. None of the legislators 7NEWS contacted knew about the substance until we brought it to their attention.