Calgary police say a potentially dangerous drug called "bath salts" is likely being used in the city.

"Bath salts" is a nickname for the synthetic drug methylenedioxypyrovalerone or MDPV, a stimulant similar to cocaine or methamphetamine.

The effects of the drug can be unpredictable.

While illegal in the United States, the drug isn’t listed as a controlled substance in Canada and can be legally brought into the country.

There have been cases of extremely violent behaviour from people on the drug.

The drug made international headlines recently after being linked to a case in Miami, Fla., where a man attacked and ate parts of a homeless man before being shot by police. But authorities there are unsure what, if any, role the drug played.

The drug is also causing problems in the Maritimes and is headed west, already showing up on Edmonton streets.

Calgary police spokesperson Kevin Brookwell says, since it is not against the law, the drug is being sold on the internet.

"But if it has been around for a few years in the States if it is given the same effect as meth or ecstasy and now we're seeing it in Eastern Canada we have to believe that it's here in Calgary and the reason that maybe we're not seeing it is because you can legitimately get it," he said.

Brookwelll said until it's made illegal their hands are tied.

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq says the government hopes to ban bath salts by this fall.