HOULTON, Maine — Earlier this year, statewide data from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency showed that methamphetamine use was concentrated largely in Aroostook County, while bath salts were used more frequently in Rockland and Bangor.

In the past few months, however, the MDEA has seen an influx in The County of Alpha-PVP, one of several synthetic drugs marketed as bath salts, and have charged nine people with related crimes.

“We have seized 1.6 pounds over the past couple of months,” Darrell Crandall, MDEA division commander, said Thursday. “We have charged seven people with trafficking them and two with possession.”

In Houlton on Dec. 21, police found what they believed to be bath salts in a container in a motel room.

Bath salts can be snorted, smoked, injected or swallowed, and cause users to act unpredictably.

A spike in the number of children entering state custody because their parents were abusing bath salts forced the state’s Office of Child and Family Services to add almost $1 million to its budget this year to accommodate 200 additional children living in foster care and in the homes of relatives.

Crandall said that in The County, the MDEA has seized the drugs mostly in the Mars Hill, Presque Isle and Caribou areas as part of wider, ongoing investigations.

At an average cost of $150 a gram, the street value of the 1.6 pounds seized is well above $100,000, Crandall said Thursday.