H-SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

Jun 27, 2012 9:31 PM by Nikki Ibarra

Some local doctors say bath salts are becoming popular among young adults

It's known as a designer drug. Some doctors on the Central Coast said it's becoming more popular.

It's called bath salts. It's the same effect as if you take cocaine and methamphetamine.

Since October 2011, it's been illegal in California to sell all designer drugs.

Aggressiveness and paranoia are just a couple of side effects you get when you consume bath salts. "Not everything you have in the store that says something like that. You really have to do your homework. You can't just get that and use it without knowing what it can do to you," said Dr. Sherif Elasyouty of the Recovery Road Medical Center in Santa Barbara.

It used to be available at gas stations or at tobacco shops.

"In order to buy alcohol, you have to be 21. In order to buy bath salts, you have to have $5 in your pocket," added Dr. Elasyouty.

In fact, it was originally marketed towards truck drivers. Once consumed, truckers said they felt more energized. But after realizing the dangers of it, state lawmakers voted to ban them.

But, according to the Santa Maria Fire Department, use among young adults is on the rise. "They're scary calls for us to go on because it's something we always have our officers respond to. Um, and usually we don't figure it out until we're into it a little bit," said Fire Chief Dan Orr.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department said they've recieved 6 to 8 calls in the past two weeks.

"People hear about it and they want to try it, you know, they say, oh you know drugs are, there's a whole fashion element of it, which is, you know, this doesn't work anymore. I've got something better now," said Dr. Joseph Frawley, also of the Recovery Road Medical Center.

And doctors said it's not detectable on drug tests, which entices more people to try it. "I hate to be pessimistic but I don't see it stopping anytime soon," said Dr. Elasyouty.

It's now being sold just like any other illegal drug.

The San Luis Obispo County Fire Department hasn't seen cases involving bath salts. But they said it could be because many of the cases are undocumented.

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