DEA warns of synthetic drugs 'bath salt' and 'spice'

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Kitty Felde/KPCC

DEA Special Agent Gary Boggs warns that while the synthetic drugs called ‘bath salts’ or ‘spice’ are available in convenience stores and are legal, that doesn't mean they are safe.

They’re called “bath salt,” “spice,” and “K-2.” But they’re not designed for soaks in the tub, cooking or mountain climbing. They're actually dangerous designer drugs that federal agents warn are headed to a retail store near you.

These synthetic drugs are legal – at least in most states. But Special Agent Gary Boggs with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration says legal doesn’t mean safe.

"You don’t know what is in the particular product that you’re using," he says.

The agency is using emergency authority to criminalize the drugs. Boggs says they can cause convulsions, panic attacks, even suicidal thoughts.

Local cops say the so-called “bath salts” – snorted like cocaine – and the synthetic pot known as “spice” and “K-2” aren’t a widespread problem in California. At least not yet. They say that’s because real marijuana is readily available.

Agent Boggs warns, though, that the situation could change – quickly. In the old days, it took months or years to spread the word about new drug trends, where to buy them, how to use them.

"But with the internet," he says, "you can Google that."

In recent months, California emergency rooms have reported nearly half a dozen overdoses of the synthetic drugs.

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