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LA County Department Of Public Health Warns Against ‘Bath Salts’

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) —  The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Saturday issued an official warning against the usage of “bath salts.”

The drug, not to be confused with actual cosmetic/bath-related bath salts, has become increasingly popular.

Officials, warn, however the drugs can lead to kidney failure, liver failure, seizures and other potentially deadly effects.

The drugs have also been increasingly linked to violent and bizarre behavior, including the report of a man who was shot dead while cannibalizing the face of a homeless Florida man this past May.

“Bath salts are particularly dangerous in that not much is known about what goes into the drug and even less is known about what people are capable of while on this drug,” Director of Public Health and Health Officer Jonathan E. Fielding said in a statement.

Fielding said there are harmful risks to users and an increased potential for others to be harmed if someone near them is high on the drug.

The drug has several street names as well. These included White Lightning, White Rush, and Hurricane Charlie, and is often sold in tobacco or smoke shops — possibly packaged in small plastic bags, canisters, or jars and may be labeled as “plant food” or “pond water cleaner.”

Side effects of “bath salts” use include sweating, chest pain, rapid heart rate, hallucinations, violent behavior, and mental illness. Symptoms of abuse of the drug can include lack of appetite, decreased need for sleep, self-mutilation, and severe paranoia.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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