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In their search for our community to put a bandage over a bullet wound, there is new and lethal way to get high; teens are using this drug and effects are more than our community can handle. This is not a new drug but new to our community: “Bath Salts.” You can get this addictive drug online and at the corner store IN OUR COMMUNITIES as a salt you can bathe with.

In the past 6 months there have been reports from across the country about teenagers and young adults abusing the chemicals. The powders sold as “K2”, “Ivory Snow,” “Spice”, “Bliss,” “Vanilla Sky” and other names clearly not for bathing. Ingredients MDPV or mephedrone can cause rapid heart rates, seizures and hallucinations.

Now what is the cost for this drug? The killer substance is sold in 50-milligram packets for $10, $25 to $50 each.

We all know people do not spend $50 for that amount of bath salts, but we’re supposed to believe that’s why corner stores are selling it.

With this new drug, “the highs are so high and the lows are so low” that they contributed to the Miami incident where a man attacked and ate a homeless man’s face.

Is this the community-destroying drug of my generation? My grandmother said in her day it was heroin that made women sell their bodies and my parents told me crack was the drug that made men sell their bodies and mothers sell their daughters. Now there are those that say this drug was made by the government to create a zombie-like creature. I have no idea if this is true. What I do know is that we have enough to deal with schools under funded and recreation centers closing.

I wanted to educate my community so we do not have to see images of people carrying TVs, radios and zombie-like being walking down the street or the once thriving community devastated by faces of hopelessness. Bath Salt packets are often labeled “not for consumption,” a trick that allows manufacturers to get away with poisoning our communities.

18 States have banned MDPV and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration placed the bath salt ingredient MDPV on its “drugs and chemicals of concern” list.

The “drug” can produce the same feelings of euphoria just like cocaine and amphetamines, and higher doses can cause panic attacks and zombie-like behavior. More than half of the reported side effects from using the drugs, including suicides, have come from African American communities.

Poison Control received 262 reports in the last few months of people who snorted, smoked or injected the substances and experienced various symptoms, including chest pain, high blood pressure, paranoid episodes, agitation or suicidal thoughts.

Poison control officers have “never seen a phenomenon like the one Florida is experiencing today,” said state health official said in a statement. “At least one psychiatric unit in the state is reporting to us that half of its patients in any given week in December were related to this drug.”

Florida hospitals also report dozens of emergency room visits for abuse of the drugs.

This drug is more than dangerous; it could be what will set our communities back further. I hope you will contact your policy makers, and not spend your money in gas stations that sell this drug to our families.

-MaryPat Hector