Bath Salts May Be Attributed to Crimes Involving Naked Men

Arizona law enforcement have had their hands full, chasing naked men around in the last couple of weeks.

"I wouldn't approach naked people running around the streets of Phoenix," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Eric Wyckoff.

You may remember a naked man was eventually reeled in at Tempe Town Lake and another naked man car jacking people in Scottsdale.

While we still don't know exactly what caused them to act this way, police say when they see that, they have an idea.

"Generally speaking, if you run into a naked man out here, we found there's usually some kind of illicit narcotic on board," said Wyckoff.

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In Prescott, a naked man crashed a stolen jeep.  He reportedly told the police he had a prior addiction to bath salts -- a designer drug that is smoked, snorted or injected.

"It's different than anything else we typically encounter because it's almost like having cocaine, ecstasy, LSD or acid or amphetamine in one substance," said Dr. Ravi Chandiramani.

Chandiramani is an addiction specialist at Sundance, a drug and alcohol rehab center in Scottsdale.  He says the number of clients with bath salt addictions has gone up 200 percent in the last six months.

"And I think why you're seeing people do crazy things on the news is because it's causing them to act in a psychotic fashion," he said.  "So they are having hallucinations, agitation, they're taking their clothes off from perspiring so much, they're prone to violence."

Dr. Chandiramani says the drug is difficult to detect, even through toxicology screenings.  He says unless law enforcement cracks down further on the drug and those who sell it, we can expect to see more of these kinds of images.

"All of these things we're seeing through the media and I don't think we're going to stop seeing them anytime soon, because it's still fairly easy to get your hands on it," he said.

Bath salts are made to skirt the law and they're made up of different items that are always changing.  As soon as the Drug Enforcement Administration makes one component illegal, street chemists come up with a different way to make the drug.  Just last week, Congress moved to ban more compounds the D.E.A. identified.

For more stories: MyFoxPhoenix

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