Colorado Man Treated After Ingesting Bath Salts

Emergency Room Calls Poison Center For Information On Bath Salts

A Colorado man went to the emergency room as a result of ingesting bath salts earlier this year. 7NEWS has learned 120 people nationwide have gotten ill from ingesting bath salts in the first three weeks of 2011.

Bath salts sold in Denver area head shops may contain the illegal drug mephedrone. A hospital emergency room contacted the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center after a man in his 20s became ill from ingesting the powder.

"They had their typical symptoms where they're revved up, like high blood pressure. The agitation -- that could be very severe -- requiring intravenous medications to calm them down," said Shireen Banerji, the clinical toxicology coordinator for Denver Health.

When 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger took a hidden camera into three head shops looking for bath salts named Bliss, Cloud 9 and Tranquility, two of the clerks encouraged him to sniff the powder. One even suggested he do it with a straw.

"What would the effect be if I followed those directions?" Zelinger asked Banerji.

"If you snort it and it goes into your bloodstream, you could have toxic effects such as high blood pressure. You could have seizures. You could have hallucinations, even something as serious as a heart attack or stroke. It's like speed, so it's going to rev your body up," said Banerji.

On the packages that 7NEWS bought, one has no ingredients listed on the back. The other lists, "a proprietary blend of concentrated water softening agents, Epsom salts, sodium chloride, amino acid blends and naturally occurring trace elements and minerals."

"(The last part) sounds like your typical bath salt, but the problem is with the 'proprietary ingredients,' where they're not disclosing exactly what's in there, and that's where the illicit drug is thought to be found," said Banerji.

A spokesman with the Drug Enforcement Administration told 7NEWS unless the DEA can connect mephedrone to the bath salts, the sale of these bath salts isn't illegal.

"Just because it's not illegal doesn't mean it's safe," said DEA spokesman Mike Turner.

The DEA said head shops could be in jeopardy of breaking federal law, but agents would most likely want to go after the wholesale distributor of the bath salts, and not individual head shops.