The bath salts drug is readily available on many store shelves and can be sold legally to anyone. Brittany Gunter has exclusive surveillance video lawmen say shows just how dangerous this drug can be.
Officials say the surveillance video shows 36 year old Shawn Walker of Washington outside of the White Post convenience store in Bath. A wide-shot shows Walker punching through windows and knocking over a newspaper stand. Photos taken by the owner show the damage- glass broken, blood everywhere. The camera continues to record, showing Walker visibly hysterical and hallucinating. He eventually punches that camera out of the way.
Deputies with the Beaufort County sheriff's office arrived soon after and Walker was arrested. Before he went to jail, he was taken to the hospital because of cuts all over his arms and hands.
So what would prompt something like this? Deputies say it happened because Walker wasn't in his right mind. They say he was high on bath salts.
"It's a synthetic amphetamine. It's a stimulant called mephedrone. It was created back in china in 1929 and recently became popular back in 2007," said Lt. Russell Davenport of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.
It's become popular because it's legal in many states and not very expensive. Officials say it comes from countries overseas including china, the UK and India.
Anyone can walk into many convenience stores and tobacco shops in the east and buy these drugs for $20 to $40 dollars per package.
Businesses can sell the drug because the packaging labels it as "bath salts" or "insect repellent." also on the packaging there are warnings like "not for human consumption," but officials say inside the packages is not what you would think of as bath salts or insect repellent. It's actually a very dangerous and highly addictive drug.
"The addiction is twice as worse as meth," said Davenport
Davenport is a narcotics detective with the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, and says they have been getting 2-3 calls a week about someone using "bath salts,"and often that person is hallucinating.
"We've had a person hide from under the counter at the magistrate's office and say they are hiding from the demons that are coming out of the walls hallucinating," said Davenport.
William Meggs is an emergency room doctor at Pitt County Memorial Hospital and he says over the past 6 months they've seen a huge increase in the amount of people brought into the emergency room on this drug.
"We've had an explosion of cases in our emergency department," said Dr. Meggs. We've seen people who have had to go on life support, we have such an individual in our medical intensive care unit right now."
He says the effects are not only physical but psychological as well.
"A number of these individuals had to be admitted to the psychiatric unit due to the toxic effects of this drug on their brains," said Dr. Meggs.
It's a high that can leave lasting effects. Officials hope when people watch the video attached to this story (click the video link above to watch) they see how the drug can alter their brain and their lives possibly forever, and they hope people will not buy it.
A law has been passed to make it illegal to sell the drug mephedrone in the United States. That law goes into effect June 1st.
While stores will no longer be able to sell the drug legally, officers say unfortunately they don't think that is going to stop people from finding it and taking it.