SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Designer drugs known as bath salts are used for a cheap and easy high but come with costly consequences.
Just two nights ago, Bluebird Salon was trashed by a man who threw shelves to the floor and chased clients out of the store. The owner says police told her he may have been high on bath salts.
Lompoc prison guard Timothy McNally is on trial for a murder of a fellow guard earlier this year after the two had allegedly been using bath salts.
In August, a man accused of stealing a cop car, crashing into cars, stores and people also believed to be high on a powerful stimulant drug.
So why would anyone want to try it?
"(They) want to use something to get them out of their head," says San Luis Obispo Drug and Alcohol Specialist Lauren McCraken. "Use something to get a high that may or may not show up positive on a standard drug screen."
Due to the evolving chemical mixtures, synthetic drugs can bypass regular drug detection, making them even more accessible to abuser.
"And as the chemicals are always changing the people that manufacture the bath salts are continually one step ahead," says McCraken.
In July, the president signed a law to ban all synthetic drugs but drug specialists say the hardest part is keeping up because the chemical compounds keep evolving.
Drugs specialists say they do have tests that can detect the chemicals used in bath salts but those tests are costly and authorities must know what chemical to test for.
The drugs high also mimics effects of street drugs like ecstasy and cocaine but can come at a severe cost.
"Go into a psychosis, paranoia, hallucinations," says McCraken. "And even though the affects of the bath salts wore off that effect remained."
Thursday, May 23 2013 1:29 AM EDT2013-05-23 05:29:02 GMT
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