Bath salts: A dangerously new drug addiction

Bath salts aren’t just for taking a relaxing soak in the tub anymore. Instead, it is one of many new and dangerous fads to hit the shelves, adding to the list of items that young people can easily obtain in order to get high.

photo by sburke2478 on flickr

Sold legally online as well as in numerous drug stores around the United States, the synthetic powder used in many bath salts goes by a wide variety of street names for addicts, such as:

  • Ivory wave
  • Purple wave
  • Red Dove
  • Blue silk
  • Zoom
  • Bloom
  • Cloud Nine
  • Ocean Snow
  • Lunar Wave
  • Vanilla Sky
  • White Lightning
  • Scarface
  • Hurricane Charlie
  • and more…

Because it is relatively new to the drug abuse scene, our knowledge about the precise chemical composition as well as the short and long-term effects of abuse is limited. However, the information that IS available is worrisome and warrants a proactive stance in order to better understand as well as minimize any potential dangers to the health of the public [source].

How bath salts are being abused

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), bath salts products often contain amphetamine-like chemicals which are typically administered in one of four ways:

  1. orally
  2. inhalation and/or snorting
  3. injection
  4. intravenous

The amphetamine-like chemicals contained within “bath salts” may be any of the following:

  • methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPDV)
  • mephedrone
  • pyrovalerone

Of these drugs, mephedrone is said to present a high risk of overdose.  Outside of this, all of the above-listed drugs have a similar effect on the brain as cocaine or meth, in that they act as a stimulant. Perhaps most concerning is the fact that because the ingredients and effects of bath salts are still widely unknown, abusing it becomes even more dangerous for addicts.

Possible risks and side effects of bath salts abuse

As previously stated, the effects of bath salts as well as the risks are still, for the most part, unknown at this time. However, take the following into account, as quoted from the NIDA for Teens Blog:

According to the head of the Louisiana Poison Center, at least 84 people in that state have been hospitalized after getting high from bath salts. Nationwide, more than 4,000 calls about bath salts have come in to poison centers during the first 7 months of 2011—up from 303 calls in all of 2010 [source].

Other effects of bath salts abuse can include:

  • extreme paranoia
  • hallucinations
  • suicidal thoughts
  • chest pains
  • soaring blood pressure
  • rapid heartbeat

In an article published in September of 2011, Bangor Daily News (BDN) staff member, Nok-Noi Ricker reported about the new and increased use of bath salts abuse as well as the devastating effect it had been having in the state of Maine:

Maine legislators, led by Gov. Paul LePage, are looking to stiffen bath salts penalties and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Congress are both working to make the main components of the hallucinogenic stimulant illegal.

The drug is banned in 31 states but is sold legally at convenience stores, head shops and online in the remaining unregulated states.

Hospital officials from The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle to Maine Medical Center in Portland have seen agitated patients on bath salts acting erratically, with increased blood pressure, heart rates and body temperatures…[source]

For now, the most important thing that we can do is become more educated about the dangers associated with bath salts and the devastating effects it can have when it is abused. If you or someone you know is experiencing a problem with a drug addiction, help them find the support and assistance that they need in order to achiever permanent sobriety as well as reclaim their lives. Contact BRC today at 1.866.905.4550.