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Bath Salts Becoming New High For Teens

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The name sounds innocent enough: “Bath Salts.” But police said it is the latest dangerous and even deadly drug trend.

This past weekend, a Hudson, Wis. teen was arrested for driving under the influence of the drug which has as similar an effect as cocaine or methamphetamine.

Grant Eugene Leonard, 19, was arrested and booked into the St. Croix County Jail over the weekend on driving high on bath salts.

The product is sold on the internet and even in retail stores for about $45 for a small jar. It is laid out in lines and snorted. Experts said the effect is similar to doing cocaine.

“These are the chemical compounds that are sold on the internet as bath salts but are actually intended to be consumed by people to get high,” said Carol Falkowski with the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

The Minnesota Poison Control Agency had heard of just four cases of people overdosing on bath salts last year.

So far this year, there have already been 25. Leonard was arrested after driving erratically on Highway 12 east of Hudson, Wis., authorities said. The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department said the deputy who pulled over Leonard spotted a white substance under his nostril.

Leonard told the deputy it was bath salt that he had snorted, and that they were purchased in Hudson. Bath salts can produce more than a high, they can have serious and deadly side effects.

Experts said they produce hallucinations, heart palpitations, increased respiration and delusions.

While Leonard is in the process of facing charges, the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department said it does not plan to investigate where or how he got the bath salts.

“Being that bath salts are legal, at this time there is nothing that we can pursue,” said Captain Jeff Klatt.

Bath salts are legal in Minnesota, too. But the state of Mississippi is moving to ban them, as are a number of other states.

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