MOUNT VERNON — Two years ago the drugs known as bath salts were virtually unknown. Today, their sale and possession has been banned in Ohio and at least 28 other states and their abuse is a growing concern to health professionals, law enforcement agencies and social workers.
Three deaths in Knox County since April have been linked to the drug. There have been a total of eight overdoses in 2011, plus two awaiting toxicology reports, Knox County Coroner Dr. Jennifer Ogle reported. There were also eight in 2010.
“It’s a growing and significant problem,” said Rick Schlegel, a counselor at The Drug & Alcohol Freedom Center. “It’s one of the biggest threats out there.
“We’re seeing a lot of heroin, other opiates and Oxycontin addiction, but we’re also seeing more people using bath salts along with heroin and other opiates.
“I’ve seen half a dozen clients (on salts) in the past year, both adults and teens, and other counselors report about the same.”
The growth of bath salt use, he said, is “very alarming” and “one of the more addictive and dangerous drugs out there.”