In the first 10 days of 2011, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received 69 calls regarding the ingestion of the stimulant mephedrone or similar chemicals. Mephedrone use is on the rise, and is often sold legally to users in the form of bath salt, plant food or insect repellent.
Authorities say that users order these phony products off the internet. They are usually manufactured in China, India or Europe, and are designed specifically for the purpose of a cheap, legal high, ABC News reports. Sold in individual bags at $20 for a 2 gram pouch, the products often have names like Ivory Wave, Ocean, White Lightning or Red Dove.
Mephedrone powder can cause paranoia, hallucinations or hypertension. Unlike cocaine, the fake products containing mephedrone and similar substances do not metabolize in a few hours, often causing the user to suffer what appears to be a psychotic break.
This month, Louisiana banned six of the chemicals found in these products. Dealers will face penalties equal to those of selling heroin.