The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a warning against a synthetic drug called "bath salts" on Saturday.
The drug, which can lead to kidney failure, liver failure, seizures and other potentially deadly effects, has been gaining popularity recently, leading to increased reports of violence and other harm, according to a report released by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
"Bath salts are particularly dangerous in that not much is known about what goes into the drug and even less is known about what people are capable of while on this drug," Director of Public Health and Health Officer Jonathan E. Fielding said in a statement.
Fielding said there are harmful risks to users and an increased potential for others to be harmed if someone near them is high on the drug.
The drug, known as "bath salts," is not the same product as the cosmetic, bath-related product sold online or in bath, beauty or drug stores, county health officials said. It is also called White Lightning, White Rush, and Hurricane Charlie, and is often sold in tobacco or smoke shops -- possibly packaged in small plastic bags, canisters, or jars and may be labeled as "plant food" or "pond water cleaner."
Side effects of "bath salts" use include sweating, chest pain, rapid heart rate, hallucinations, violent behavior, and mental illness. Symptoms of abuse of the drug can include lack of appetite, decreased need for sleep, self- mutilation, and severe paranoia.