Banned 'bath salts' replaced with new products


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Canyon Lake business owner Mike Irvin spoke to the Public Safety Committee at the scheduled meeting on October 1 in regards to products some might consider “designer drugs” being sold in the City limits. The products are being consumed and causing visible symptoms such as paranoia, hallucination, rapid heart beat and extreme trembling. These products are addicting and life threatening, according to Mike.

As he addressed the committee, it was clear to the audience Mike was emotionally bothered by the subject. "Let me catch my breath," he said before he began.

"A few months back, I came to the City. I had learned about "bath salts," and the City made an ordinance to stop it (sales). I am now coming to you about another item being sold that is just as dangerous."

Mike's fight for stopping items being sold in the City limits is because he has seen firsthand what these supposedly legal products can do when they are consumed. He says he had been made aware of a friend's brother's abuse of “bath salts” (considered by California legislation as a designer drug) and the devastation it had on his family. That's when he first learned where the young man was purchasing the items and became disturbed.

"The items were being purchased at the Canyon Lake Smoke Shop. I decided to confront the owner about the effect the product he was selling was having on one family and asked him to stop selling bath salts. He sarcastically asked me if I wanted him to stop selling cigarettes, too," Mike says. (Note: "bath salts," as a designer drug, are not the same as what one puts in a bath.)

This encounter occurred prior to Riverside County Sheriffs delivering letters dated April 11, 2012, informing business owners that the Sheriff's Department conducted an investigation into the unlawful sales of dangerous designer drugs with misleading names such as “bath salts” and “spice” by retail businesses. The letter stated that recent legislation in California makes the sale of these products unlawful and subjects businesses that sell them to potential criminal and civil penalties.

Along with the letter, businesses were given materials that provided details on these new legal requirements so they could take all necessary steps to avoid violations.

At Tuesday's meeting, Mike shared names of different drugs being sold at the Canyon Lake Smoke Shop that cause the same type of behaviors and dangers as "bath salts." Riverside County Sheriff Chief Hill stated he was not aware of the names of the items Mike was concerned about but would look into the matter.

Mike says when he learned of these other products, like Salvia, he wanted to make sure the City was aware they were being sold within the limits. "After my last experience with the owner, I knew I was not making progress, so I made the City aware. That is why I came straight to the City this time," says Mike.

Items Mike is concerned about are Hawaiian Baby Woodrose Seeds, Salvia and Kratom.

Mike handed Riverside County Lt. Paul Bennet copies of the items being sold at the Canyon Lake Smoke Shop, and asked the Public Safety Committee and Sheriff's Department to look into getting the store to stop selling the dangerous and sometimes deadly items.

The manufacturer, Captain Amsterdam, located in Carlsbad, California, is the supplier of the products. The website for the company, www.captainamsterdam.com, writes on its home page, "Dedicated to helping people fulfill their health and wellness needs, Captain Amsterdam is a specialty retailer and direct distributor of nutritional products ranging from vitamins and minerals to nutritional supplements, herbs, sports nutrition formulas, homeopathic remedies and health and beauty aids."

The site's disclaimer page says the company "accepts no responsibility for the result of use or misuse of anything supplied." It includes a statement that reminds buyers it is the buyer's responsibility to abide by local laws and regulations.

The confusion lies in the packaging and labeling. The items Mike is questioning are clearly marked, "Not for human consumption," yet the manufacturer's website displays no such warning. In fact, under Hawaiian Baby Woodrose Seeds it states, "The seeds were considered to hold magical properties to connect with the gods. The ultimate product to have in your quest for paradise."

The store also sells a variety items that contain Kratom in capsule form and powder form. The website information on the Kratom capsules says, "Thai Kratom capsules consist of power premium Thai Kratom capsulated. The capsules are 500 mg. We guarantee our Kratom capsules to be the best on the market or your money back."

An article on the Thailawforum, written by Nichole Osinski, says, "The tropical deciduous tree Kratom may be native to Thailand, but it is still illegal to use it it in the country." The article gives a history of the tree and its use and information on The Kratom Act, passed in 1943, making planting the Kratom tree in Thailand illegal. In 1979, Kratom was included in the Thai Narcotics Act, along with cannabis and mushrooms.

A number of arrests and seizures related to Kratom were reported at the beginning of the 21st Century in Thailand. The article says users swear by the drug's ability to both calm and energize, but it's been proven that longterm usage can lead to hallucinations, delusions, tremors and aggression.

Jeff McAllister, manager of the Canyon Lake Smoke Shop, says there is nothing wrong with the items being sold. "They are novelty items purchased just for fun, not to consume," says Jeff.

He says the Smoke Shop's sales are primarily tobacco, and anyone who enters the door and purchases items must be 18 or older.

When asked why people purchase the novelty items, Jeff responds, "Actually we don't sell that many ? people buy them just for the novelty."

Mike says, "I am not suggesting the Smoke Shop be put out of business. I am suggesting that there be a ban on all products being sold that intoxicate like these items do, regardless of product labeling."

The items are not FDA-approved as nutritional or dietary supplements. Laws are made for alcohol sales and tobacco sales, monitoring legal doses. These items have no monitoring, no doses, and say "not for consumption."

"They are being sold as potpourri, incense or novelty, but there is no doubt in my mind, or anyone who has any ability to reason, that this stuff is being sold for human consumption, to get high, despite the labeling," says Mike.

Jeff says that if anyone has concerns about the products the store is selling, he would like them to communicate that with him in an adult manner. "I will do my part to work with the community," says Jeff.

What are the products?

Three items being sold locally are Hawaiian Baby Woodrose, Salvia products and Thai Kratom products.

Hawaiian Baby Woodrose Seeds (Argyrea nervosa) ? This information was taken from Azarius Smart and Headshop website, which is located in the Netherlands. This site states that they cannot ship to the United States.

The Hawaiian Baby Woodrose is a member of the convolvulacea family, which also includes the Morning Glory. The seeds contain a naturally occurring tryptamine called Lysergic Acid Amide (LSA), which is closely related to LSD. The seeds are consumed orally, either direct or after extraction of the active alkaloids.

The effects of the seeds are somewhat similar to those of LSD, but less intense and less visual. A Hawaiian Baby Woodrose trip lasts six to eight hours; tranquil feelings may last an additional 12 hours. Some users may experience blurred vision, vertigo and physical inertia.

Salvia products

This information was taken from the article "Dangers of Smoking Salvia," written by Julie Boehlke and published in Home Diseases & Health Conditions, August 11, 2011.

Salvia or Salvia Divinorum is a natural herbaceous perennial plant of the sage family that produces white flowers. An uprising trend has been discovered among teens and experimental drug users with smoking and using the leaves of the drug to reach a “high” or altered mental state. Because the Salvia is legal in the United States and most areas around the world, the plant can be easily obtained at health stores and smoke shops.

Salvia is commonly administered by smoking but it can also be chewed. Salvia affects people differently and this is mainly due to each individual's body chemistry, body weight and if it is being taken with other drugs or alcohol. Salvia affects the brains's limbic system, parietal lobe and overall vestibular function. One of the first signs is a feeling of euphoria similar to a sleepwalking experience.

Salvia contains the substance Salvinorin which causes psychoactive side effects. There are some reports of people completely passing out or being unable to move or function until the height of the drug has tapered off. One of the most fearful side effects occurs as the drug begins to slowly wear off, where the user may thrash or appear to have a seizure, sometimes running into walls or injuring themselves, feeling no pain. Experts compare the drug to that of PCP, heroin and cocaine, which are documented to be addictive.

Thai Kratom

This information was taken from www.sagewisdom.org.

Kratom leaves are often chewed fresh or dried, but most users prefer the powdered form. The powdered Kratom is mixed with fruit juice or apple sauce. It can be smoked.

Kratom is considered a unique drug in that a low to moderate dose will usually be stimulating, while high dose is almost always sedating. This is apparently because the active alkaloids have both stimulant and sedative effects; which predominates probably depends both on blood level and individual differences between users.

At the stimulant level, the mind is more alert and physical energy and sometimes sexual energy is increased. One is more talkative, friendly and sociable.

At the sedative-euphoric-analgesic level, users will feel less sensitive to physical or emotional pain, feel and look calm, and have a general feeling of comfortable pleasure.

The site warns users that vomiting can occur and sleepiness may come on without warning.

Health problems linked to Kratom are weight loss, dark pigmentation of the face, physical withdrawal symptoms, muscle aches, irritability, crying and muscle jerking.

When Kratom is taken in a frequent, regular higher dosage for a long period of time, some side effects can be experienced by the user. Such side effects include nervousness, skin darkening, constipation and aggression. Some cases also reports nausea, loss of libido, dryness of mouth, increase or decrease urination, vomiting and prolonged sleep.

If taken for a long time, it can cause anorexia and weight loss, insomnia and drug dependence. It is easy to have drug tolerance to Kratom, seeking for a higher dose to maintain or receive the same or desired effects leading to dependence. Overdose to Kratom is also possible. Over-dosage of Kratom may result in aggression, nausea, tremors, delusions, hallucinations and problems in motion coordination. People who have low blood pressure, schizophrenia, renal failures, ulcers, hepatic problems and pregnant women are contraindicated to take Kratom.