LINCOLN, Maine — Once the high it provides passes, the synthetic drug known as bath salts takes its users on a nightmare ride of deadly side effects: Paranoia. Extreme weight loss. Hallucinations. High blood pressure and racing heartbeat.
But that, Police Chief William Lawrence says, is not the worst part.
“The big danger with bath salts is that it is a new drug that can stay in your system for a long time and eventually can shut down your kidneys,” Lawrence said Friday. “The hallucinations can stay with you long-term. Whatever your worst nightmare is, you could be hallucinating [it] for a long time … The drug can kill you.”
With the introduction of bath salts to the Lincoln Lakes region over the past year, Lawrence and his officers have carved out what are almost second jobs lecturing town organizations about the evils of bath salts and how to recognize people on the drug.
Lawrence and Sgt. Glenn Graef will conduct a bath salts and general drug awareness presentation for all grades at Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln on Wednesday, Feb. 29. Another presentation, to Mattanawcook Junior High School’s seventh- and eighth-graders and parents, is scheduled for April 5, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said.
Lawrence and Detective David Cram also conducted an anti-robbery training session with Bank of Maine employees at the bank’s Penobscot Valley Avenue branch last week, Goodwin said.
But bath salts have drawn the most interest, Lawrence said. Maine has been one of the states nationwide where the drug has drawn a lot of attention since its introduction to the area almost a year ago.
Partly because of that, U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe and fellow Republican Sen. Susan Collins are co-sponsors of the Combating Dangerous Synthetic Stimulants Act, introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., which would ban mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, known as MDPV, key ingredients of bath salts. That legislation is pending.
Known as “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Red Dove,” “Blue Silk,” “Zoom,” “Bloom,” “Cloud Nine,” “Ocean Snow,” “Lunar Wave,” and “Vanilla Sky,” bath salts usually comes in powder form that is administered orally, by inhalation, or by injection, with the worst outcomes apparently associated with snorting or intravenous administration, according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The state’s first confirmed death by bath salts overdose, a Bangor man, showed that he was delusional and attempted to beat himself up just minutes before he had three heart attacks.
Lawrence and his officers began giving lectures on bath salts in the fall, one of the first being for emergency room workers at Penobscot Valley Hospital. This led to lectures for RSU 67 teachers.
Any Lincoln organization interested in booking a lecture can call police at 794-8455.