The abuse of synthetic drugs seems to be increasing at a very alarming rate. The poison control centers had reportedly taken 1,782 calls as of April 20, 2011 which were linked to the use of bath salts. This number is much higher when compared to only 302 calls they received in the entire year of 2010. For our case study, let’s take a closer look at a recent DWI case that involves the use of bath salts.
Man with 10 DWIs Pleads Guilty to Driving Under the Influence of Bath Salts
In a previous blog post we discussed the circumstance of those charged with repeat DWI offenses. In recent news, a man from Rochester, 46, with 10 prior DWI convictions admitted to driving under the influence of bath salts on March 1st at Dakota District Court. The man, who had previous DWI convictions on his record, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of driving while impaired in response to his arrest last July in Vermillion Township. He was believed to have been under the influence of a synthetic drug which was banned by the legislature at the time of his arrest on July 3. He will be the first DWI offender to be sentenced under a new law in Minnesota banning the use of synthetic drugs. The man has been housed in Dakota County Jail in Hastings since the arrest and he will face his sentencing April 6th at Dakota County District Court.
The criminal complaint states that the man was arrested by Dakota County Deputies on Highway 52 and 160th Street after receiving a report of a vehicle driving erratically and having a hard time staying on the road. The man tried to flee from the officers but was eventually pulled over. The man wasn’t wearing shoes as he stepped out of his truck and told authorities he hadn’t been drinking alcohol and hadn’t been taking drugs.
His breath test registered negative for blood alcohol content, but he failed the field sobriety tests and was subsequently arrested. After authorities found a hypodermic needle in his pocket, he was sent to Regina Medical Center for a blood test which registered traces of illegal stimulant banned by Minnesota legislation. The DWI suspect did change his story later and told the deputy he took some prescription drugs. He admitted to using meth in the past, but had switched to using bath salts since they were cheaper.
Minnesota Bans Using and Selling of Synthetic Drugs
Bath salts are stimulants that have the same effects of cocaine, Ecstasy and methamphetamines on humans. The growing concern of the increased use of synthetic drugs has prompted the legislature to make it illegal to use and sell 3 synthetic stimulants which are Methylone, Mephedrone, and 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). The ban took effect in July and will continue temporarily until one year while the US Department of Health and Human Services and the DEA are able to determine if these stimulants should be permanently controlled. These substances are usually sold as plant food or bath salts which are commonly named as Cloud Nine, White Rush, Ocean Snow, Ivory Wave, White Lighting, Charge Plus, Scarface, Red Dove, Vanilla Sky, Hurricane Charlie, and White Dove.
Effects of Synthetic Drug Abuse
While the packaging of these substances states that they are not for human consumption, they can be used by individuals as stimulants alone, or can be mixed with some other drugs to increase the intensity of the high which can often lead to deadly results. The effects of these stimulants on humans include hallucinations, extreme paranoia, delusions, agitation, violent behavior, chest pains, rapid heartbeat, suicidal tendencies, and even death.
When Accused of Using or Selling Synthetic Drugs
Using or selling synthetic drugs is a serious offense in Minnesota, a state known for imposing severe sentences and penalties for individuals found guilty of committing drug related crimes. If you’re charged with using or selling synthetic drugs, or charged with driving under the influence of synthetic stimulants in Minnesota, you need to contact a competent Minnesota DWI and criminal lawyer immediately.