ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - Called "blizzards" or "ivory wave." Concentrated bath salts that are completely legal, and if ingested produce a meth like high.
To many, the word "blizzard" brings to mind the thought of blustery winter snow storms. For Luke Weyandt, it means another way to get high.
"You can snort it, eat it, inject it, or smoke it," said Weyandt, a former user.
It's a high that mimics meth and it is completely legal. The product is called blizzard, concentrated bath salts readily available to buy online or over the counter. It is a new and emerging trend in substance abuse and most people haven't even heard of it.
Patty Karn, Prevention Supervisor with the Blair County Drug and Alcohol Program Inc., recalled the first time she heard of the drug.
"I received a phone call from a local emergency room asking me what I knew about blizzards. I thought, oh yeah, Dairy Queen. She said no, rather, we have some youth in our emergency room who have overdosed on blizzards."
"What we're seeing is an emerging trend of pockets of people that are starting to turn to these over the counter type substances and using them in a way that they weren't originally produced to be used for," added Judy Rosser, Executive Director of the Blair County Drug and Alcohol Program Inc.
Weyandt likened a blizzard high to a cocaine rush. The only difference, he noted, is that blizzard is cheaper and easier to access.
"People said it's like an energy drink," Weyandt said. "But after I tried it I realized it wasn't an energy drink. It was real."
The risks associated with the drug are equally as real. Chronic use of blizzard can prove fatal.
Weyandt said his former struggles with drug abuse, of blizzard and other substances, took a massive toll on both his body and mind.
"When your body is run down and you're living on nothing but your drug you don't care about nobody but yourself," he said.
"An addicted life is very controlling. You have no choice. A lot of people think it means you're free as long as the police don't catch you. But it holds you, you're in bondage."
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