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OKC “Bath Salts” arrest highlights growing problem


OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma City teen is in trouble with the law after allegedly experimenting with powerful synthetic drugs.

Police said the teen fought with neighbors and police while high on the bath salts.

Police arrested the supposedly out-of-control teenage suspect for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

“Throughout the contact the man was belligerent and out of touch with reality,” OKC Police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said.

While the teen now denies ingesting bath salts, that’s not what he allegedly admitted to officers on scene.

“He told officers when they asked what he had taken, he said some sort of bath salts,” Wardlow said.

“These are basically synthetic, lab-made cocaine, meth or steroids,” Mark Woodward said, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.

Woodward said the state has seen a dramatic increase in the use of potent hallucinogenic synthetic drugs.

“The last three years we’ve seen a spike in use of people snorting bath salts, plant food or jewelry cleaner to get the same high as meth or cocaine,” Woodward said.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, in 2010, 304 emergency calls reported the use of bath salts.

In 2011 the number ballooned to more than 6,000.

That’s why last year the statehouse passed a new law banning six chemicals used in some illegal bath salts.

“Because of that we’ve seen a drop in availability, that has helped save lives because we’re seeing deaths around the country,” Woodward said.

To be clear, the state has not outlaws all bath salts.

Those sold at many retail stores don’t contain the right chemicals to get people high.

The state ban only applies to more powerful products sold mostly online.