"Pierre" is a 26-year-old bartender in Belltown who first snorted Ivory Wave bath salts about six weeks ago and most recently did it again a week ago today. He spoke with Seattle Weekly about the storm of controversy that's erupted over bath salts like Ivory Wave, Bliss, White Lightning, and Hurricane Charlie in the past week, and how his experience doesn't quite mesh with the you'll-throw-yourself-off-a-cliff-and-carve-your-face-off narrative being pushed by much of the media. He offers a bit of wisdom for the legal drug, that one can apply to almost any recreational substance: "it all depends on how much you do."
The "bad press" Pierre is referring to might be the story of Sarah Forsyth, a recent bride who died after using Ivory Wave for nine months. It might be the Daily Mirror piece that says it "turns users into violent psychotics" or the Daily Mail story about one Michael Bishton who fell off a cliff, supposedly after suffering "paranoid delusions" brought on by snorting an assload of Ivory Wave.
Ivory Wave powder Erowid
In the aftermath of stories like those and a new batch of tales coming from the U.S., states are tripping over themselves to ban the substance and its active drug--most often MDPV, short for methylenedioxypyrovalerone and akin to methamphetamine.
Louisiana has already enacted a ban, and Mississippi and Kentucky are trying to do the same.
Pierre says he knew all about about the drug's bad rap when his friend ordered it, but he did his homework and decided to portion it sparingly, rather than go on a nine-month-binge like Forsyth.
"I'd say you do about a 10th of the amount that you'd do if it was coke," he says. "You really don't do much."
So what's it like? Pierre likens it to a cross between cocaine, meth, and Adderall or Ritalin, with the closest resemblance being to the latter two drugs.
"It's not much different than any other upper," he says. "You get that high you get from coke for about 20 minutes, then afterward you're just more alert. It's got a very distinct, sort of sweet taste, and it definitely burns the nose. We were out at the bars and it gave us an insatiable craving for alcohol."
Sounds like a story from anyone who's ever hit the bars with a bag full of cocaine.
So what about the paranoid delusions and terrifying hallucinations? What about how Neil Brown, a user from Mississippi carved up his face with a skinning knife in the midst of an Ivory Wave bender?
Neil Brown says he carved his face up with a skinning knife during an Ivory Wave binge.
"Obviously, he did too much," says Pierre. "I had a great time on it. It picks you up, lets you stay out longer. It's great, just don't do too much."
Sound advice, it would seem.
But likely not enough to keep Ivory Wave and all forms of MDPV off the government's constantly updated List of Fun Things to Ban.