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Parent Resources With Names Like Red Dove, Ivory Wave and Hurricane Charlie, the Latest Trend in Drug Abuse Is Disguised As Bath Salts

Police and social agencies are monitoring an epidemic of abuse of so-called bath salts that threatens to spill over the border from the U.S. into Canada and onto the streets of Kamloops.

Although there's no sign of the designer drug in the city yet, its easy access via the Internet makes it likely that the dangerous narcotic will come to town, Staff Sgt. Grant Learned said Wednesday.

"The natural migration of these types of things is into Canada," said Learned, adding the drug has also turned up in Europe.

"With the proliferation of availability through Internet purchases, there would be people who are hearing about this and are purchasing it over the Internet."

The products - labelled Red Dove, Ivory Wave and Hurricane Charlie and masquerading as over-the-counter bath salts - are also available via small retail outlets to customers who smoke, snort, inject or eat the chemicals mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone ( MDPV ).

The powder's effects are similar to a methamphetamine, Learned said. They can induce a rapid heart rate, visual hallucinations, paranoia and psychosis.

Some cases in the U.S. involved people engaging in self-mutilation after hallucinating on the drugs. The Washington Post reported that a 21-year-old man in Louisiana committed suicide following three days of delirium after he snorted the chemicals.

Learned heard the powder can cause irreversible damage to livers, kidneys and heart muscles. Some people have ended up on permanent dialysis after use whether they are first time or seasoned drug users, he said, likening the drug's use to playing Russian roulette.

"It could be the same as putting a bullet in the chamber," said Learned.

Bob Hughes, executive director of the AIDS Society of Kamloops, said he wouldn't be surprised if the drug turns up in the city.

People have a tendency to chase cheap, easy highs, he said. Which is why his staff had to get massage oil pulled from local dollar stores.

"It had a really high alcohol content," he said. "People will drink it."

The same is true of some hand sanitizers, which is why containers were disappearing from Royal Inland Hospital, said Hughes.

"If something is free and it's not regulated and monitored, people will do anything to get a buzz," he said. "People will seek mind-altering experiences at any cost."

Although not yet regulated, the powders are now facing federal scrutiny in the U.S. The Globe and Mail reported earlier this year that officials at Health Canada are aware of the drugs but have yet to see widespread marketing or use in this country.

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