Lynn Haven-- Last month, the Drug Enforcement Administration banned five chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana or "spice". And it appears law enforcement now has something else on their hands.
"We began seeing it here over the last three months although we've heard about it for years," said Captain Faith Bell with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.
It's sold under a number of different names like blue silk, blast, ivory wave or vanilla snow. Manufacturers call it "bath salts". But authorities say most people are using it as a substitute for illegal drugs.
"Synthetic marijuana was started and sold to mimic marijuana whereas this is sold and mimics cocaine and meth," said Bell.
The so-called bath salts is a legal substance available for sale at several local head shops.
"I saw us go through this years ago with GHB. It started with GHB and then you know other forms of chemicals you could buy at the hardware store. Unfortunately, we had to experience so many overdoses and deaths before people actually caught on that it's a bad thing. Its kind of died down for now and hopefully that's the same course this will take," said Bell.
Bell says at a going rate of 40 dollars for one gram, it's priced nearly the same as the real drug.
"As far as the bath salts, we haven't seen the younger kids showing up with it like we did the synthetic marijuana but who's to say that's not to come," said Bell.
If that does come, Bell says the effects are not easy to hide.
"If their child induces any of that it should be pretty apparent right away but most of it causes excitability, sweating, heart palpitations and generally the ones who end up in the hospital want to go to the hospital after snorting or smoking it," said Bell.
Captain Bell says the drug is controlled in other countries. And she says the U.S. will also regulate the product, although it could take some time.