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law enforcement officials
bath salts
food and drug administration
poison control
living proof
puncture wound
fasciitis
Bath Salts Continue To Cause Problems: New Orleans Woman Suffers Lose Of Arm And More
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Bath Salts Continue to Cause Problems: New Orleans Woman Suffers Lose Of Arm And More

Bath salts, the name given to a group of synthetic stimulants gained popularity in Western Europe in 2009 and then eventually made its way to the United States. It was first discovered in Louisiana and Kentucky and has continued to be a major problem for law enforcement and health officials since then. Smoke shops, some operating at the very fringes of the law, had been selling the substance under various names until the Food and Drug Administration banned three key ingredients for making them. Those bans will remain in effect for at least a year but may become permanent following studies to their use and their dangers. Sixteen states have already banned bath salts by passing emergency legislation with other states likely to follow suit.

The American Association of Poison Control had only 300 calls in regard to "bath salts" in 2010 but that number jumped to more than 6000 one year later.

Law enforcement officials and addiction experts have warned local police departments and emergency rooms about what they can expect from these drugs and what to watch for. Typically a lower cost product, the bath salts are sometimes created from different chemicals, even beyond what is listed on their packaging which can sometimes make them even more dangerous. Users typically use the drug in a number of ways, including inhaling, smoking and swallowing.

In addition smoking or snorting the bath salts, users are starting to inject them, which has lead to an increase in dangerous infections. A thirty four year old woman in New Orleans is living proof of how dangerous injecting that drug can be after nearly dying from a serious infection. The unnamed victim arrived at a local emergency room saying that she had injected bath salts at a party a few days prior. Doctors tried to treat the puncture wound with strong antibiotics, and while she had some positive response at first, was back in the ER two days later with worsening pain and redness in the area. Emergency surgery found necrotizing fasciitis in the right arm, destroying the muscles of her right arm and moving up through her healthy tissues quickly. Surgeons say they had little choice but to remove her right arm, up to the shoulder as well as a radical mastectomy to remove all of the unhealthy skin.

Health officials are being warned to watch for any signs of previous use of bath salts with any patient that comes in with injection site wounds because of the increased potential for this dangerous infection.


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