ATLANTA,None — A Channel 2 News investigation has found that a dangerous hallucinogenic drug, recently banned in Louisiana, is sold in metro Atlanta.
On Thursday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an emergency order banning hallucinogenic "bath salts," saying they have created an epidemic. But what is contraband three states over is available in smoke shops across metro Atlanta.
For users, the drug-laced bath salts are like a legal alternative to cocaine or methamphetamine.
"I just felt like I was slowly killing myself with this stuff," said metro Atlanta user Abbey, whose name was changed for this story at her request.
According to experts, the drugs, which can be snorted or injected, can cause extreme paranoia, chest pains and suicidal thoughts that can last for days.
Abbey, 20, said she began snorting bath salts thinking it would be a fun high, but within a week, she thought she was losing her mind. She spoke exclusively to Channel 2's Tom Regan spoke about her frightening experience.
"You're hearing voices, being paranoid, thinking like, delusionally," Abbey said.
WSB-TV Bath salt warning The active ingredient in the drug is mephedrone, a synthentic stimulant. Experts said it's supposed to mimic cocaine or speed but can produce dangerous side effects.
Abbey said the drugs physically transformed her into a shell of her former self.
"Lost a lot of weight, … losing hair, looking like I was sick," she said.
Louisiana health officials have linked one suicide, two fatal overdoses and 165 emergency calls to drug-laced bath salts. Undercover Channel 2 producers were able to purchase them from three metro Atlanta smoke shops at about $30 for a gram packet.
Jindal has issued an emergency order banning the substance used to make the drugs in Louisiana. Until that happens in Georgia, Abbey, who has since entered a therapy program, told Regan parents should warn their children about the dangers.
"'It shocks me that there hasn't been more people going crazy around here, because it's around here," Abbey said.