What Treasure Coast families need to know about the drug "bath salts"

VERO BEACH, Fla. - It's called 'bath salts,' and detectives say it's a highly dangerous drug. Also sold under the names Vanilla Sky and Bliss, it causes some extreme behaviors. 

"We've had people running the streets naked, seeing things, hallucinating, thinking they've seen the police outside their house. Paranoia," said Indian River County Sheriff's Detective Bill Staar.

The psychedelic, psychotropic drug causes hallucinations and can keep users up for hours on end.

Staar said, "Their condition can be extremely violent and bizarre, as we've seen in the newspapers lately."

He's talking about the incident in Miami, in which a man reportedly on bath salts chewed on another man's face.

Bath salts come in a jar and look like Epsom salt. Staar says he doesn't know what it's made of, and that's part of what makes the drug so dangerous.

"What we have to do is form an operation and go undercover and basically make purchases," said Staar.

A recent Sheriff's Department operation confiscated $10,000 worth of bath salts and spice from several Indian River County stores.

"It is devastating. Parents, I think, feel helpless because they want to help their kids, but they don't quite understand the drug world out there, said Owenlea Messinger, victim advocate.

One parent who does understand the drug world is Ray Adams. His son Nolan died at the age of 19 from an overdose. Now, Adams is an anti-drug advocate and an educator.

"I've, unfortunately, seen several students who have had one-time instances with these drugs who were passed out, in convulsions, had to be rushed to the hospital," said Adams.

Drug experts say watch your kids closely. If you see major changes in their behavior or friends, find out what's going on. And talk to them about the reality of drug use.

Staar says bath salts can kill. 

"Do whatever it takes to stand in between the drugs and your child," said Adams.

Bath salts were introduced in 2010, according to Staar. He says the drug is shipped in from other countries, especially New Zealand.

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