UPDATE: First ‘Bath Salts’ Overdose Death in Alton
ALTON, Ill. (KMOX) –– Alton Police are investigating the region’s first fatal overdose from the legal bath salts consumers snort to get high.
Police were called to the 400 block of Brookside Tuesday morning around 10:00 a.m. where they found a 28-year-old Tonia Whitehead unresponsive. The victim was transported to an Alton hospital and remained in critical condition throughout the day and night Tuesday.
Police say she’d been on a 50-hour binge on a synthetic designer drug, commonly known as ‘bath salt’, which was purchased from an Alton liquor store.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for that liquor store and recovered evidence that includes substantial amounts of bath salts and financial records associated with the sale of bath salts. Additional evidence at the liquor store revealed a back room illegal gambling operation with video gaming devices.
The store employees and an acquaintance to the victim were taken into custody as part of this investigation and are currently being held.
Shortly before noon today, the 28 year old victim died, from medical issues relating to the overdose.
The investigation now focuses on those responsible for the sale, transfer, or facilitation of the substance that caused the death of the victim. An autopsy and toxicology tests are pending.
Criminal charges are pending.
Legislation to ban ‘Bath Salts’ is moving through the Missouri’s Senate. A similar crackdown on a key hallucinogenic substance in “bath salts” were passed by Illinois’ House last month and awaits Senate action.
The investigation is being conducted as a cooperative effort between the Alton Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Madison County State Attorney’s office, Madison County Coroners Office, and the United State’s Attorney’s office of the Southern District of Illinois.
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