The medical examiner’s office reported Friday, for the first time in San Diego County, a body tested positive for compounds that produce an amphetamine-like high found in so-called “bath salts”, according to the North County Times.
The designer drug product, which sometimes resemble bath salts, can be found on European websites, as well on the shelves of North County smoke shops, the paper reported.
However, unlike the more common bath salts, these chemical-laced products contain simulated cathinoes that when injected or smoked can produce a methamphetamine and Ecstacy-like high.
Users of the drug feel alert, euphoric and more aware of the sense, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The drugs can be addictive and can cause panic attacks, hypertension, high blood pressure, nosebleeds, dizziness and erratic behavior.
Details about the death of the middle-aged man have yet to be released said Dr. Iain McIntyre, chief toxicologist for the medical examiner's office, but he told the NCT the positive find was the office’s first since they began testing in May.
"We had heard about it ('bath salt' products) through various conferences and scientific meetings, and decided to see if we could test for it here with our current methods," McIntyre said in an interview. "Turns out we can."
28 states have banned the product and earlier this year Assemblyman Ben Hueso, D-Chula Vista, introduced Assembly Bill 486, which would ban the products in California.
Police officials in Escondido and Carlsbad told NCT they were aware bath salts were on sale throughout the city, but they hadn’t seen any arrests or major criminal investigations concerning it.
Figures on the American Association of Poison Control Centers show reports that poison centers took 303 calls about synthetic cathinones in 2010. The site also reports between January 1 and July 7 of this year, it had taken 3,740 calls.
Though abuse of the bath salts has increased across the nation, a federal ban by the DEA could take years, since they require intense scrutiny.