Police, ambulance come to ‘Bath Salts’ user’s aid

It’s clear, officials say, that this man’s difficulty didn’t come from taking a relaxing soak …

Both Portland Police and AMR paramedics arrive at this convenience store, attending to a subject having a “bad trip” on “bath salts”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

When the call for emergency first responders went out at 9:14 p.m. on the evening of November 7, an AMR ambulance was dispatched to the 7-Eleven Store at the corner of SE 82nd Avenue of Roses and Flavel Street.

The 9-1-1 Center dispatcher also called for a Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct District officer to respond to the scene of a man having a “medical issue”.

When the on-duty police sergeant was updated that the medical issue of the subject was that he ingested “bath salts”, he ordered, “Because of what’s happened in the past, let’s send a couple of more units.”

Paramedics attend to a person needing immediate medical attention after allegedly ingesting “bath salts”.

In this case, “bath salts” – that’s how they’re typically labeled for sale – are part of family an illicit man-made drugs to related to “cathinone”. An amphetamine-like stimulant, cathinone is found naturally in the khat flowering plant native to the Arabian Peninsula and in the Horn of Africa.

“Our officers do see ‘bath salts’ calls on occasion,” PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson told East Portland News.

These crystals are not for taking a bubble bath, both police and drug officials say. US DEA image

“These calls almost always require both police and fire units to respond, as the user is often psychotic, in addition to other immediate medical needs,” Simpson said.

In this case, however, the subject appeared calm and nonviolent; paramedics were able to provide medical care without difficulty.

“In the case of ‘bath salts’, when the package says ‘Not meant for human consumption’ it is absolutely the truth!” exclaimed Simpson.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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