Officials say bath salt ban is working - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Officials say bath salt ban is working

By Brittany Pieper – email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – It's been 3 weeks since Governor Bobby Jindal put an emergency ban on several substances found in "bath salts" that people used to get high.

Before the ban, in a 3 month span, operators at the Louisiana Poison Center took about 160 calls from people panicking because of negative effects after using the  products. Symptoms range from a racing heart to paranoia and hallucinations. 

"We went from first case reported to notifying the health department, and from us and other reporting areas seeing how serious this was to a ban in less than 100 days. That's impressive," said Mark Ryan, the Director of the Louisiana Poison Center.

Ryan says the number of distress calls has dropped dramatically since the day the ban went in effect, "since then we've only had 6 exposure calls."

They've gone 11 days without receiving a call from anywhere in the state.

"It feels good, and it shows that to this point the ban is working," said Ryan. 

Other states have taken notice. Kentucky, Mississippi, California, and Missouri have all contacted the Louisiana Poison Center because they're considering legislative bans. Florida put an emergency ban, very similar to Louisiana's in place this week.

Shreveport police say while the number of calls are down currently, they expect after the newness of the ban wears off, they'll see it pop up on the street again.

"Long term, if there's a profit to be made from other people's misery, someone's gonna try to do that," said Sgt. Jim Taliaferro. 

The Police Department plans to meet with the District Attorney's office to plan how to enforce the ban if that does happen.

Copyright 2011 KSLA-TV. All rights reserved.

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