FORT WAYNE (WANE) - Overdose cases involving a designer drug dubbed "bath salts" are on the increase, according to emergency room doctors at a Fort Wayne hospital.
"Throughout the Parkview system we probably have five to 10 a week," said Dr. Corbett Smith, emergency room physician at Parkview Health. "It's not uncommon for me to see one or two a week."
Bath salts are a synthetic drug, similar to cocaine or meth.
"We've actually seen a five- to 10-fold increase in the amount of people we've seen in the emergency room in the last three or four months," Smith said. "It's really starting to become a fairly big problem in the community."
The drug is very addictive, and people often hallucinate and become violent after taking it. Some patients have to be sedated and restrained until the effects of the bath salts wear off.
Smith said he's treated overdose patients ranging in age from 13 to 50.
According to the Indiana Poison Center, 170 bath salts overdoses have been reported this year. In 2010, only four cases were reported for the entire year.
Effective July 1, the drug will be illegal to sell or possess in Indiana.
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