The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office issued a brief statement on Tuesday that stated that several people in Cherokee County have been hospitalized, suffering from potentially "life threatening" conditions after using a drug called Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) - a psychoactive drug with stimulant properties which acts as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor, also known as "bath salts." It's a chemical that, if ingested or smoked, has the effects of drugs like meth or cocaine.
The names of the people affected were not released, however on Wednesday the Sheriff's Offices reported that an arrest has been made after an investigation beginning on Dec. 18 of several Cherokee County persons who had ingested the "imitation controlled substance" believed to be "bath salts."
CCSO stated that Lee Charles Mercer, 35, of Galva, was arrested on the evening of Dec. 27 charged with distributing imitation controlled substances, an aggravated misdemeanor times four, and also charged him with ongoing criminal conduct, Class B Felony.
The CCSO report also said that mercer went before a judge on Wednesday and bond was set at $100,000 cash. He is still in custody in the Cherokee County Jail.
The investigation began when reports came in to the Sheriff's Office of several persons were being hospitalized for medical complications.
The Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center in Sioux City stated that in the last week alone they've had reports of 17 people across the state being hospitalized for use of these so called "bath salts."
MDPV is a part of several new dangerous drugs and are said to be on the rise. Recently, law enforcement officials in the United States are reporting that products marketed as "bath salts" have become prevalent as a drug of abuse.
In the United States, MDPV is marketed as "bath salts" in gas stations and convenience stores, similar to the marketing for Spice and K2 as incense.
It comes in several different brands, such as Blue Silk, Charge+, Ivory Snow, Ivory Wave, Ocean Burst, Pure Ivory, Purple Wave, Snow Leopard, Stardust (Star Dust), Vanilla Sky, White Dove, White Knight, and White Lightning.
MDPV is described as a white, odorless, fine-grained powder similar in appearance to baby powder or flour. Many other brands are noted to have a tan or brown powdery substance. MDPV has no history of FDA approved medical use in the U.S. and is usually labeled "Not for human consumption."
Evidence shows that MDPV has amphetamine-like or cocaine-type effects, depending on the dosage and usage. It can be taken in different approaches -- snorted, smoked, wrapped in cigarette papers and dissolved, or injected intravenously.
The side effects have a duration that can last from 3-4 hours, up to 6-8 hours depending on the dosage ingested. Users often report to feeling compelled to continue re-dosing, but often lose interest in taking it quickly because of the unpleasant side effects caused by higher doses.
Among the signs and symptoms of this drug includes: many users have been reported to have experienced nausea, stomach cramps, increased body temperature, swelling of the brain, kidney failure, cerebral vascular accidents or strokes, intense panic attacks, anxiety, agitation, visual and auditory hallucinations, extreme paranoid thoughts and suicidal thoughts. There were also reports of coma and death.