Amarillo, TX - The dangerous bath salt trend is once again on the rise across Texas and its popularity is growing in the panhandle.
Texas lawmakers enacted a ban on chemicals most commonly found in synthetic drugs last September.
The Texas Panhandle Poison Center and the Texas Poison Center Network say immediately after, the number of bath salts-related calls decreased significantly.
This year, those numbers have gone back up.
"Generally the panhandle lags a little bit behind the rest of the state, especially the big areas like Dallas and Houston in drug abuse trends. I think what we're seeing is that lag and it is picking up some. Also, with school about to start, I think we'll see more cases of the bath salt abuse," says Dr. Jeanie Jaramillo, Texas Panhandle Poison Center.
That's why area experts hope awareness of the dangers will put a stop to this trend.
"Depending on how they're formulated, they can be extremely dangerous. There are patients who are becoming extremely violent or suicidal after using bath salts. They are a danger to themselves and to others as well," says Dr. Jeanie Jaramillo, Texas Panhandle Poison Center.
"On a local level we have heard of brain hemorrhages occurring and also seizure activity," says Christy Kennon, Impact Futures.
Using the drug can even be fatal.
Last year there were three deaths in the state.
"We've seen reports about them snorting it, shooting it up, putting it in food and drinks," says Christy Kennon, Impact Futures.
Even though it's illegal, we're told the synthetic drug is still being sold.
"There are approximately ten smoke shops in the area, some of them have never carried bath salts but a lot of them have. Now at this point, as far as we know there is only one shop selling bath salts," says Christy Kennon, Impact Futures.
They are also being purchased at gas stations or online under names such as Ivory Wave, Hurricane Charlie and Vanilla Sky.
Many people are unaware that in July, President Obama signed a bill that bans some synthetic drugs including bath salts.
The legislation also outlaws similar compounds, so nothing new can be produced in the future.