By Dixon Hayes
ETOWAH COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Less than two hours after Attorney General Luther Strange signed an order outlawing certain bath salts, agents with Etowah County's Drug Enforcement Unit began heading to area stores to seize the product.
Agents who comprise the DEU from various Etowah County cities and the sheriff's office, were sent to the stores with copies of Strange's order as well as a letter from District Attorney Jimmie Harp explaining the salts are illegal and will be destroyed.
"We've had numerous, numerous complaints from the hospitals where kids have come in and overdosed on this stuff, at the brink of death," Harp told reporters just before the raid. "Serious health issues are being raised."
A news release from the Etowah County Sheriff's Office says to date, seven people have been booked into the county jail under the influence of the salts. They didn't become illegal until Strange and the state health officer today declared a health emergency in putting the salts, which are said to give off a cocaine-like high, in the same category as cocaine itself.
Agents went to various convenience stores, liquor stores, and tobacco shops. In some cases, they came away empty handed because the merchants had already disposed of the salts.
Harp says he believes the store owners simply want to do the right thing, but the ones who don't will be arrested and charged with felony drug possession if the agents have to return in the future.
Copyright 2011 WBRC. All rights reserved.