GALVESTON COUNTY —A Galveston man hopes to get a legal cocaine substitute banned after it reportedly led to his son’s suicide.
Joey Baldwin, of Santa Fe, killed himself and blamed a synthetic substance called "bath salts" in his suicide note. He was found by his father after experimenting with the legal product, which is being compared to cocaine.
His father, James Baldwin, still fights back tears as he shares the pain of losing his son.
"If you’re doing the stuff, stop it," said Baldwin. "If you haven’t done it, don’t. That’s all I can say about that bath salts. It’s bad. It killed my boy."
Baldwin says his 31-year old son became paranoid, began hallucinating and eventually killed himself.
"I had signs that I didn’t take advantage of," admits Baldwin. "I could have maybe stopped it. I don’t know."
Joey Baldwin’s older sister, Dana Gassaway, hopes other families are paying attention.
"Just because its legal at this minute does not mean it’s safe," said Gassaway. "It’s not regulated. You don’t know what you’re buying. You don’t know what you’re taking."
KHOU first reported about bath salts earlier this month, and Texas State Representative Garnet Coleman was watching.
"I heard about it through your newscast and it disturbed me," said Coleman.
Coleman said there’s already been a bill introduced to ban synthetic marijuana, or K2. Coleman is working to get bath salts added to that legislation.
"So that means treating it as an illegal substance, an illegal drug or a street drug," explained Coleman.
Louisiana and Florida have already banned the fake cocaine. If the new bill becomes law, bath salts could be illegal in Texas by May.