They had taken new stimulant drugs that people are calling “bath salts,” and sometimes even large doses of sedatives failed to quiet them.
“There were some who were admitted overnight for treatment and subsequently admitted to the psych floor upstairs,” Dr. Narmi said. “These people were completely disconnected from reality and in a very bad place.”
Similar reports are emerging from hospitals around the country, as doctors scramble to figure out the best treatment for people high on bath salts. The drugs started turning up regularly in the United States last year and have proliferated in recent months, alarming doctors, who say they have unusually dangerous and long-lasting effects.
Though they come in powder and crystal form like traditional bath salts — hence their name — they differ in one crucial way: they are used as recreational drugs. People typically snort, inject or smoke them.
Poison control centers around the country received 3,470 calls about bath salts from January through June, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, up from 303 in all of 2010.