BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - They're potentially deadly, available at many specialty stores, and may have claimed a pair of lives in the Allegheny National Forest.
These so-called "bath salts" are marketed under a number of names, such as "White Ivory," "White Lady" and "Cloud Nine" and have spread across the south and midwest. They are marketed as a product, when added to bath water, makes you feel better. But experts say users are not filling up the tub.
Rutgers University is shaken by the murder of senior Pamela Schmidt, whose body was found in the basement of her boyfriend's house. William Parisio, a former Rutgers student, is charged with Schmidt's murder. But family members say Parisio is mentally ill, and had been using "bath salts" in recent months.
Last Thursday, authorities discover two men who had been missing for weeks in the Allegheny National Forest in Warren County, Pennsylvania. The coroner ruled 29-year-old Troy Johnson and 28-year-old Terry Sumrow died of hypothermia, but investigators find bath salt and drug paraphernalia in their car.
Dr. Michael Isabelle said, "The problem with this stuff is, it is profoundly potent."
Law enforcement and medical professionals say so-called "bath salts" have just burst on the scene in the last year and they are dangerous. Experts compare the effects of bath salts to heroin and methamphetamines, but right now in most states they are legal. New York Senator Charles Schumer has introduced a measure that would change that.
"The so-called "bath salts" are nothing more than deadly narcotics. So we want to nip this drug in the bud before it becomes an epidemic and spreads like meth did," said Sen. Schumer.
While bath salts containers warn they are not for human consumption, doctors say people buy them not to put in their bath water, but rather in their veins, or their nose, or smoke it.
Dr. Chad Muntan said, "The issue was, they were going into kidney failure then multi-organ failure, and several died, several committed suicide. It was intense."
Three states have banned "bath salts" outright.
"A lot of people stepped up and did appropriate thing with the information that was at hand and made a very, very good decision to take it off the market. It is dangerous stuff," said Dr. Isabelle.
The states of Louisiana, Florida, and North Dakota have already banned bath salts and several other states have measures pending. New York's state health commissioner is studying the issue.
The Erie County Sheriff's Bomb Squad, ATF, and the Buffalo Police Department were called to Tioga Street near Fairchild Place in North Buffalo just before midnight Thursday.
Eighty-two-year-old Edward Spencer was making a left hand turn while exiting the Budwey's parking lot when he struck 52-year-old Sandra Garner and 55-year-old Kevin Nowak, according to authorities.
An angry mother who claims her daughter was dropped-off miles away from home wants answers.
Deputies say a teen driver fell asleep at the wheel early Thursday morning before crashing head-on with another vehicle.
Police say a Jamestown man was selling crack cocaine out of his barber shop on East Second Street.
City Hall is considering turning to taxpayers to help keep the lights on at the only movie theatre in downtown Buffalo.