This summer, the most dangerous wave may not be at our Grand Strand but one right here at home. I am referring to the new wave of designer drugs that have entered our community and pose extremely dangerous consequences to their users. They are characterized by their inability to be identified in drug tests, overall availability and minimal cost.
One difficult challenge we face as alcohol and other drug treatment and prevention professionals is the fine line we must walk in regards to educating the community on new drugs without introducing them to our youth in the community.
In order to do that, it is important to ensure that a significant portion of our education and awareness campaign focuses on the health consequences associated with the new drugs and ways to recognize and identify its use.
In the coming months, I would like to take an opportunity to make you aware of some of the new designer drugs we have started to see and respond to in our community.
The first drug I would like to address is one of the most troublesome new drugs entering our community so rapidly that it requires our most immediate attention.
Many of you may have started to hear rumblings about "bath salts".
Bath salts have spurred national attention; they are not designed for human consumption and are dangerous and addictive in that capacity. Numerous deaths have been linked to the ingestion of these bath salts.
Area emergency rooms are beginning to deal with users of "bath salts" and they are equally alarmed. Most startling, if you take the very worst effects of the illegal drugs LSD and Ecstasy with their hallucinogenic, delusional type properties, and combine them with the extreme agitation, superhuman strength and combativeness of PCP, as well as the stimulant properties of cocaine and methamphetamines, you have summarized the potential negative effects of bath salts use.
Side effects of ingesting the bath salts include increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia and delusions. Youth using bath salts will exhibit increased perspiration, agitation, unusually high energy levels and less sleep than usual.
As a parent, I encourage you to educate yourself, be vigilant and communicate regularly with your children about the consequences of any type of drug use.
Most importantly, set clear rules and expectations about the behavior you expect and consistently enforce those rules. Even in today's ever changing and challenging world, parents need to continue to be the most influential person in your child's life and on the decisions they make.
CEO Circle Park