K-2 and Bath Salts: Local Efforts to Address Drug Use in Cape Girardeau

The SEMO Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (YSAPC) recently hosted the first presentation of the Breakthrough Breakfast Series, focusing on the increase of synthetic drug use in our community.

Two undercover officers from the SEMO Drug Task Force and the Cape Girardeau Police Department provided information and answered questions regarding the latest trend of the synthetic drugs known as bath salts and K-2.

Bath salts, known as synthetic cocaine or window cleaner, are an issue for police officers, doctors and nurses because they can cause psychotic episodes for users. The SEMO Drug Task Force agent said methamphetamine and other drugs do not have the same effect on users as bath salts.

Users of bath salts can cause harm to themselves and others by losing touch with reality, some baring kitchen knives and others carelessly hanging off bridges. Individuals conducting acts of insanity while allegedly high on bath salts have become more common in the national news.

The SEMO Drug Task Force agent said that recently a Cape Girardeau man high on bath salts walked into his neighbors’ apartment mistaking it for his own. He frightened the woman and her children as he sat down in the kitchen and stared at them.

Aside from the most sensational stories, the Cape Girardeau police officer on the panel said the two most common side effects of using bath salts are excessive body heat and drooling.

“It’s not something you buy at Bath & Body Works,” the SEMO Drug Task Force agent said. “It’s made in some guy’s trailer in a bathtub.”

K-2, also known as synthetic marijuana or “spice”, is an herb sprayed with chemicals then burned, the Cape Girardeau police officer explained.

“Marijuana mellows a lot of them out,” the SEMO Drug Task Force agent explained. “K-2 freaks them out.”

Drug abuse prevention advocates attending the presentation watched video clips of K-2 users unknowingly breaking through windows and cowering from hallucinations.

Attempts to make synthetic drugs illegal in the state of Missouri have yet to prove wholly successful at curbing the drugs’ manufacture and sale. State laws making bath salts and K-2 illegal exist in Missouri, but simple chemical changes to the products allow manufacturers to legally continue production.

Despite the controversy and attempted state laws, both bath salts and K-2 are available for purchase around Cape Girardeau.

“You can still buy these [drugs] in certain places in the area,” the SEMO Drug Task Force agent said. “I wish there was something we could do about it. We’ve exhausted every option on the local level. Our hands are tied.”

Bath salts and K-2 need to be classified as a controlled substance or an imitation of a controlled substance to be regulated at a local level, the officers explained.

Additional prevention of the increasing problem of synthetic drug use in Cape Girardeau and nationwide can be addressed at the state and federal levels.

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs will be discussed during the fall presentation of the Breakthrough Breakfast series, followed by two more presentations on alcohol and tobacco.

For more information on how to get involved with the YSAPC, contact Project Coordinator Shelly Wood at (573)-587-1921 or visit www.mychildourfuture.org.

Local News Coverage of “Bath Salts”

Bath salts maker gets lawsuit dismissed (April 2012 – KFVS)
http://www.kfvs12.com/story/17378146/bath-salts-maker-gets-lawsuit-dismissed

Exclusive video shows what bath salts can do to a person (November 2011 – KFVS) http://www.kfvs12.com/story/15960589/exclusive-video-shows-what-bath-salts-can-do-to-a-person

Bath salts to join list of controlled substances Sunday (August 2011 – Southeast Missourian) http://www.semissourian.com/story/1755432.html

Video: Other Drug-Curbing Efforts in Cape Girardeau on Cape Chronicle
Post by Amity Downing, Multimedia Journalist
Summer 2012 Public Information Office Intern