Bath salts aren’t just for the tub anymore. Apparently, they are the newest form of designer drugs that are sweeping the nation. This highly addictive and dangerous concoction similar to amphetamines is the cause of numerous hospitalizations, suicides, and erratic behavior. Several states have already banned the volatile substance and the federal government is pushing to make it illegal.
Bath salts have become increasingly popular over the past two years. Mark Ryan, director of the Louisiana Poison Center states that there were 248 calls from 25 states nationwide linked to bath salts in January 2011 compared to the 234 calls received in all of 2010. Bath salts are sold at convenience stores, truck stops, and on the internet in $20 packets. They are marketed under the names “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” and “Bliss” along with the warning “not for human consumption” to stay under the radar. Nevertheless, on September 7, 2011 the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) invoked its “emergency scheduling authority” to control the three main synthetic substances found in these stimulants – mephedrone, MDPV, and methylone. The emergency action will remain in effect for at least a year while they seek to take permanent control of the drug.
Users can snort, shoot, or mix the bath salts in with food or drink. The side effects are similar to those an amphetamine overdose, which includes paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, high blood pressure, and suicidal tendencies. Ryan states, “If you take the very worst of some of the other drugs—LSD and Ecstasy with their hallucinogenic, delusional type properties, PCP with extreme agitation, superhuman strength, and combativeness, as well as the stimulant properties of cocaine and meth—if you take all the worst of those and put them together , this is what you get.” According to him, the psychosis is impressive. He recalls one case of a bath salt user who barricaded himself in the attic with a rifle to “get the monsters before they get him.” Once users are in the emergency room, they can’t be controlled with normal sedatives like Valium even in high doses. Once stronger sedatives are in effect and patients are weaned, they become uncontrollable again. The cravings are so intense that users often go back to the drug. Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you suspect someone is using bath salts, USA Mobile Drug Testing can help. They are the fastest growing mobile drug testing company in the nation and will come to anyone, anytime, anywhere. USAMDT will administer a drug test on-site, whether you’re at home or the office and will have results back within 24 – 72 hours.
Bath salts are also linked to other debilitating side effects. A woman recently had her right arm and shoulder amputated due to flesh-eating bacteria at the injection site. The 34 year old woman visited the hospital to report pain after injecting the bath salts a few days earlier. The injection site had been exposed to streptococcus bacteria that was eating away at her flesh and killing the muscle underneath. This example may sound bizarre, but illegal chemists are rapidly producing new strains of the drug. Although the basic chemical composition is the same, any slight change can produce new side effects, which clinicians are learning how to deal with.
With that said, states are working hard to ban the dangerous drug. Louisiana and Florida have already classified bath salts as a schedule 1 drug, putting them in the same category as heroine. This means that the drug has no medicinal value, but has a high potential for abuse and can be declared illegal. Now law enforcement officials can do more than just slap users on the wrist with a misdemeanor. Mississippi and Kentucky are also close to enacting a ban on the drug. Although states are moving swiftly, it could take much longer for federal regulations to be passed. In addition to the DEA, the Department of Health and Human Services is involved. It could take years, although physicians and officials alike hope that it’s sooner than later. At the present, bath salt users are getting around statewide bans by purchasing them on the internet and having them shipped to neighboring states.
Bath salts are one of many designer drugs. The motivation for buying and selling them is the same – they are new and under the radar. Both local and national laws are seeking to expose this dangerous new addiction and put it to rest for good.