Last year, the American Association of Poison Control reported that there were 58,627 cases of drug abuse that resulted in a call to poison control. 2,655 of these calls were attributed to the designer (synthetic) drug known as “bath salts.”
What is Bath Salts?
The drug known as bath salts is not the perfumed crystals used to soften and scent bath water. It is a drug that has been sold on the internet and in stores under that name to avoid notice by authorities. What the term “bath salts” refers to when we talk about drugs is actually a group of chemicals – all of which are made in a laboratory. Most varieties of bath salts contain the chemicals mephedrone or methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV).
The chemicals that make up bath salts are actually related to a substance found in nature called “khat”. This is an organic stimulant that is found in the Middle East and East Africa. The drug “khat” is illegal in the US as it contains an addictive substance called “cathinone.”
In order to more clearly mark their “brand,” drug dealers have been selling bath salts under many names, such as: Ivory Wave, Purple Wave, Red Dove, Blue Silk, Zoom, Bloom, Cloud Nine, Ocean Snow, Lunar Wave, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning, Scarface, and Hurricane Charlie.
Bath salts have been shown in the news as the culprit behind violent and bloody attacks on other people. This may make you think that bath salts are hallucinogens. Factually, bath salts usually give people hallucinations in the way that LSD does.
It is more likely to give a person a distorted sense of what is already there or an acute paranoia.
Violence is not the typical reaction to bath salts abuse, although it can occur. Some dealers and “head shops” sell it as a substitute for cocaine or methamphetamine. The most common theory behind the incidents of violence is this: Since bath salts are not a controlled substance, the user has no idea of the strength of the product they are buying, how much of the product will produce what effect, etc. The same goes for cocaine, meth, or any illegal narcotic sold on the street today. They are not safe, no matter how much a dealer or user may attempt to reassure you.
Another factor is that bath salts stop you from sleeping.
This isn’t just regular insomnia. Users of bath salts have reported taking sleeping pills while high with absolutely no effect. When a person doesn’t sleep, they can get extremely depressed or go temporarily psychotic, depending on the length of time they have failed to sleep and their general temperament to begin with. Additionally, insomnia results in elevated stress hormone levels. Your body perceives that you are in danger.
With side effects like paranoia, violent behavior, and delusions already common to users of bath salts, the upped hormone levels and false alarms to the brain can do nothing but harm someone.
Imagine that you have not slept in three days straight. Your body is exhausted; your brain thinks there is something seriously wrong for you to be putting your body through this. Add a drug that causes paranoia and depression, and the level of insomnia, irritability, depression, paranoia, etc. only rises. You can probably see why a person might have a violent reaction to this drug.
Because bath salts is a relatively new drug, all of the negative effects are not necessarily known. However, here is a relatively comprehensive list:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Panic attacks
- Violent behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
- Brain swelling
- Continued paranoia
Besides the paranoia and delirium experienced while the person is high, cases have been reported of people remaining psychotic or schizophrenic for over a week after taking the drug.
Additionally, they are likely to experience flashbacks, and – just like with cocaine or methamphetamine – they are likely to become addicted, either physically or psychologically.
The best solution to keep you and your family safe from this drug is education.
The more educated a person is on a drug and its effects, the more likely they are to make a sane decision about that drug. Get the truth and make sure your child, the children around you, and your local schools are aware of this drug – and drugs in general – and are educating students about them.
If you are already addicted, or know someone who is, it’s not too late.
Best Drug Rehabilitation can recommend a medical drug detox program. Recovering addicts can be helped with therapy and education, and can carry on with their lives – free from the harmful effects of drug abuse.