Use of ‘bath salts’ reaches epidemic levels in central WisconsinThe use of a synthetic hallucinogenic drug known as “bath salts” has reached an epidemic level in parts of central Wisconsin.
By: Glen Moberg, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The use of a synthetic hallucinogenic drug known as “bath salts” has reached an epidemic level in parts of central Wisconsin.
The drugs are manufactured in China and southeast Asia, and then labeled as bath salts to avoid detection in the United States. In the past year, their use has skyrocketed in Langlade County and adjacent parts of Marathon and Shawano Counties.
Langlade County Sheriff's Investigator Dan Bauknecht says his department spends more time with bath salt abuse than with heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines combined.
“About 90 percent of our investigations are in bath salts,” says Bauknecht. “It's estimated that a very high percentage of our jail population – sometimes between 60 and 70 percent of our jail population – can be bath-salt related.”
Bauknecht says these are extremely powerful, dangerous drugs that cause an effect similar to a combination of methamphetamine, cocaine and LSD. “It comes with an initial euphoric high, where you're riding on top and everything is wonderful, to a crash that can last two to 14 days, where psychosis, suicidal tendencies, homicidal tendencies, things of that nature set in.“
Bauknecht says he has seen psychotic episodes in which bath salt users thought they were being shot at or set on fire.
“We've had people we've had contact with that think they're being chased by a swarm of killer bees,” says Bauknecht. “And when they're put into a receiving cell, they still think this swarm of killer bees is around them. You can only imagine the torment that a mind must be under if you're in a concrete jail cell and you think there's a swarm of killer bees in there.”
Bath salts are readily available on the internet, and cannot be detected by ordinary drug tests.