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‘Bath salts’ a growing concern for the Lodi Police Department

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Posted: Saturday, July 21, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 5:59 am, Sat Jul 21, 2012.

A Lodi man was zip-tied and detained by at least four Lodi officers early Friday morning after police suspected he took a new, popular type of drug known as bath salts.

Lodi police officers detained Craig Riger in the News-Sentinel parking lot after he was reportedly seen by multiple drivers running in and out of traffic on Lockeford Street just west of Church Street, police said.

Sgt. Mike Oden said Riger was yelling for help when police caught up to him, saying someone was following him and wanted to kill him.

Though it was not immediately confirmed whether Riger had taken bath salts, Oden said it was suspected the man could have been under the influence of the narcotic.

Oden said the police department has seen a rise in the number of bath salt cases recently. According to medical experts, the drug — which is considered to have an even bigger high than methamphetamine — is becoming increasingly popular to use.

Not meant for the bath tub

The new drug is marketed under the name “bath salts,” and it is a crystalline compound that creates effects similar to those of methamphetamine and cocaine.

It is not currently known just what goes into bath salts, because the compounds vary so greatly, said Dr. Richard Geller, the medical director of the California Poison Control System.

There is also no blood or urine test that has been developed to determine whether a person has taken bath salts.

Despite the fact that bath salts have been marketed as “not meant for human consumption,” Geller said that is a trick on the part of the drug’s manufacturer or seller. That label is placed there so the drug is not explicitly labeled as illegal.

“Apart from the fact that they are crystal or powder like the ones you find at Bed, Bath and Beyond, (bath salts) are nothing like what you find in stores,” Geller said.

The dangers of bath salts

According to Geller, bath salts were nowhere on the radar of medical or drug experts until August 2010 when the Poison Control Center in Baton Rouge, La. began receiving numerous calls about extremely violent reactions to an unknown drug.

On Jan. 1, 2011, the California Poison Control System began monitoring cases reported as involving bath salts.

“It started kind of slowly, maybe two or three cases a month,” Geller said. “We are now at the point where we are seeing 20-plus cases a month. And that is just a snapshot of the bath salt use in California.”

The problem, Geller said, is that reporting bath salt usage is not mandatory.

If someone either inhales, ingests or injects bath salts, Geller said, the resulting “high” — which can last up to 24 hours at a time — could turn deadly.

Bath salts combine the most dangerous effects of a number of abused drugs, Geller said. Hallucinations become dangerous. The central nervous system revs up, as it does with methamphetamine.

Bath salts are so strong, they can even produce an irreversible psychosis, Geller said.

According to Geller, his greatest concern comes from the tendency to see bizarre suicides when people take bath salts.

“People literally filet themselves open,” he said. “They take knives and cut themselves open and their intestines fall out.”

Preventing bath salt use

Thus far, no test has been created to find a way to test for bath salt ingestion.

There is also no epicenter where a majority of the cases are found.

From Lodi to Los Angeles, Geller said that if someone were to blindfold themselves and throw darts at a map of California, it would be highly likely they would strike a place where a bath salts case had been reported.

Possessing bath salts is legal in California; selling or manufacturing the designer drug is not.

Possession — as well as possession for sale — can be treated as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances.

So far, no California law creates serious punishments for manufacturing or taking bath salts.

An Assembly bill authored by Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in October 2011 carries a maximum six-month county jail term and a maximum $1,000 fine.

Geller said the rate at which bath salt use is accelerating is discouraging, and that the state needs to do more to prevent its use and production.

He said he has not seen the state take much action, despite going to the Department of Public Health a year ago to warn them of the drug’s serious consequences.

“Even in its heydey, meth did not produce the carnage we see today with bath salts,” he said.

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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  • Robert Jacobs posted at 6:36 am on Wed, Jul 25, 2012.

    Robert Jacobs Posts: 298

    I just want to know where I can get some?

  • Kim Lee posted at 5:37 am on Tue, Jul 24, 2012.

    Kim Lee Posts: 1798


  • Kevin Paglia posted at 7:56 pm on Mon, Jul 23, 2012.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 1880

    Bad behavior is bad behavior, no matter the excuse used to justify it.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 4:56 pm on Mon, Jul 23, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4308

    Please leave me out of this, Mr. Paglia. Mr. Baumbach made disparaging comments regarding Mr. Chang out of his usual stupidity. He should have kept his mouth shut from the start.

    I found the comment to be unnecessary - and yes, this is a problem that should not be joked about regardless of Mr. Baumbach's dislike for Mr. Chang and, according to his comments, his apathy toward drug use. Must be all those trips to the Golden Triangle.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 2:26 pm on Mon, Jul 23, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Kevin stated...a very real and serious drug problem that is ruining peoples lives and all you theee can do is continue to bicker about yourselves.

    Excellent point Kevin... However, I have become desensitized over the years to stories of drug use as it happens so often and seems so senseless. I have never taken drugs and cannot imagine why anyone does.

    I agree it is a serious issue but in a state that almost made pot legal, it seems like almost anything goes.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 1:46 pm on Mon, Jul 23, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Mr Chang stated...You’re a dork!...

    So was Bill Gates, but that puts me in good company. Thank you![beam]

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 1:42 pm on Mon, Jul 23, 2012.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 1880

    Amazing. Here we have an article about a very rel and serious drug problem that is ruining peoples lives and all you theee can do is continue to bicker about yourselves. Maybe some day you can come out of your intense dislike for each other long enough to see not everything is just there to create an opportunity to pick on each other.

    If anyone is curious about more here is another write up


  • Walter Chang posted at 12:14 pm on Mon, Jul 23, 2012.

    Walt Posts: 993

    Darrell, no speculation as it has been confirmed.

    You’re a dork!


  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 10:27 am on Mon, Jul 23, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Funny, Mr Chang who started a rumor that I was leaving my wife and family and Ms Bobin who spread rumor that I have no wife who is Mexican is complaining about my observation that I think Mr Chang demonstrates bizarre behavior on line.... if you do not wish to have speculation of bizarre behaviors pleas edo not say bizarre things on line.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 8:10 am on Mon, Jul 23, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4308

    As you stated, Mr. Chang. It all starts in his driveway.

  • Walter Chang posted at 6:00 am on Mon, Jul 23, 2012.

    Walt Posts: 993

    Leave it to Darrell…

    To drag his baloney from story to story…

    Doggedly patrolling the comments section to CARP on any fresh postings!

    Another proud moment!!

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 5:57 pm on Sun, Jul 22, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Ms Bobin stated...I wonder if Mr. Chang is as "suit" happy as are you, Mr. Baumbach.
    Hope he keeps a "file" like you do.

    Odd thing to say Ms Bobin, since I was wondering about the behavior of someone running around in a bizarre manner, nothing is so bad about that. It reminded me of WC since this comments are bizarre and out of touch. Of course I have no way of knowing one way or the other as to why he says what he says. It could be he was born the way he is.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 2:49 pm on Sun, Jul 22, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4308

    I wonder if Mr. Chang is as "suit" happy as are you, Mr. Baumbach.

    Hope he keeps a "file" like you do.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 7:11 am on Sat, Jul 21, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Lodi police officers detained Craig Riger ...hummm this man's behavior sounds like W. C.... I wonder if there is a mistake in identity.



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