Outpatient Supervisor Karen Painter works with the Valley Community Services Board to help bath salts users recover and learn skills to quit.
“They're making justifications for using," Painter said. "In their mind, the addictive mind, it kind of hijacks the brain, takes over and says, 'Hey, this is legal.'”
Bath salts are illegal, but people who make drugs sometimes change the chemical structure. That way, bath salts slip under the law because they don't match the legal definition.
Officer Lisa Klein with the Staunton Police Department said a law could pass soon to broaden that definition.
“What it will do is give us the tools to arrest the people who are making it and killing people. Hopefully, if we can get this information out, and people realize how incredibly dangerous this drug is, they will stop using it,” Klein said.
Professionals can use several methods in their drug screening room to figure out what drugs someone might be using, but this doesn't cover bath salts. That means they have to look for behavioral clues instead.
Professionals send the test to a screening lab, which then figures out if the patient uses the drug.
Patients meet in a room for therapy, treatment and to learn how to stop using.
The Valley Community Service Board oversees all that, and they said about 40 percent of their patients have tried bath salts.
“It should be a collective responsibility, and really empowering the person who is ultimately making that deliberate choice,” Painter said.
They said it's up to the government, drug users and enforcement officers to help people quit.
The bill that could change the definition of bath salts has passed in Virginia's House and Senate.
It only needs Gov. Bob McDonnell's signature to become law.