In the past year or so, America's Southeastern speed freaks have been exposed to a new synthetic stimulant that's been raising heart rates, druggy online forum hits and concern among law enforcement organizations in Europe.
You know, just something to take the edge off when one can't get one's hands on the latest batch of filthy crank cooked up with allergy pills and roach killer in an abandoned convenience store by a guy who's not sure whether the stain on his wifebeater is old blood or new buffalo sauce.
Like K2 "incense" before it, this new "legal high" endeavors to duck FDA regulations and controlled-substance legislation through its branding as a product not meant for human consumption, and is sold internationally online. But its active ingredients usually mephedrone and/or methylenedioxypyrovalerone bear a striking structural resemblance to the psychoactive components of both Ecstasy and Meow Meow, a speedy drug now banned in Britain that was marketed as "plant fertilizer" and inspired one user to tear off his own joybag. This new product was just as clearly made with the designer-drug market in mind. And while early reports from the U.K. compared the experience to taking way too much E/MDMA, the list of side effects, which includes paranoia, hallucinations and violent outbursts, definitely implies characteristics more in line with that good ol' American psycho-grit, crystal meth.
So what, exactly, is this new upper being marketed as?
Why, "soothing bath salts," of course.