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Synthetic drugs: A vicious circle of seeking the next high

Synthetic drugs called “Bath Salts” are highly addictive, said investigator Eric Van Fossen (above), who holds a bag of epsom salts to compare it with the bright drug packages in the display at right. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi
4th in a series • Part 1Part 2Part 3

Addiction often begins when people “self medicate,” explained Susan Hallett, a certified substance abuse counselor with Tidewater Recovery in Urbanna. Addicts remember how alcohol or drugs made them feel good, and then when they are sad, angry, lonely or tired they use those substances seeking that “good feeling” again.

With synthetic drugs, known as “Bath Salts,” it doesn’t take much time to get addicted. Hallett explained that many Bath Salt users have been using other substances and reach a tolerance where they need to use more and more to try to get the same effect. Their brain is seeking that “first time” high, she said. Even though that feeling cannot be attained, the brain still craves that experience.

Hallett explained that it’s hard to communicate with some people who have used Bath Salts. “It destroys them so quickly. I don’t see some of them before their minds are gone. They are seriously injured before they can get help. It acts so fast.”

Educators at the meeting suggested parents watch the behavior of their children. Are they asking for a lot of money? “Start being snoopy . . . check behind them,” said MHS resource officer Ranger Freeman. “If they use it one time, they are going to want it again.”

MHS principal Jeannie Duke said to be aware of the situation and continue to spread the word. “When you are educated you can help your kids,” she said.

Hallett said parents should establish communication with their children while they are young so that when they become teens they will talk about their feelings.

Birthday parties usually include a cake, and even sugar can be addictive, Hallett noted. “When it wears off you then want more of what gave you that euphoria.”

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

Final Part

posted 01.16.2013

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