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What Are Bath Salts?
Bath Salts are a category of drug called “new psychoactive substances,” (NPS). They are usually primarily composed of one of two chemicals: 3,4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, (MDPV), or Mephedrone. These components, synthetic versions of a natural component found in the drug Khat, were made Schedule I drugs in 2012. This classification made the sale and possession of these chemicals illegal, even for medical use. Bath Salts’ nature as a designer drug, however, puts them in a gray area.
Many designer drugs, like Bath Salts, keep ahead of the law by altering the formula slightly. This maintains a superficially similar effect, but with a makeup that has not been outlawed. By the time legislation can catch up, clandestine labs have already tweaked the recipe enough to make it “legal” again. Other names for Bath Salts include, but are not limited to:
- Purple Wave
- Red Dove
- Blue Silk
- Ocean Snow
- Lunar Wave
- Vanilla Sky
- White Lightning
- Hurricane Charlie
There is a significant amount of confusion between Bath Salts the drug, and bath salts which are actually used in baths for their aromas and as muscle relaxants. There is not actual connection between the two, other than than many batches of the drug Bath Salts resemble the crystalline structure of traditional bath salts.
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Effects of Bath Salts
Bath Salts are traditionally classified as a hallucinogen because of the mind altering effects that the drug creates. However, the chemicals used to produce Bath Salts also give them stimulant qualities, similar in effect to Methamphetamines. This combination makes them extremely dangerous to users and those around them. The many dangerous effects of Bath Salts include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Chest pains
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Auditory hallucinations
- Visual hallucinations
- Dissociation from reality
- Rapid mood changes
In popular culture, Bath Salts have become synonymous with the psychosis, largely due to a few very high profile cases coming from South Florida that involved vicious attacks on others committed by individuals under the influence of Bath Salts. In truth, many seemingly insane and dangerous acts have been tied to the drug throughout the country, although in some instances Bath Salts may or may not have been actually present in the incident or not.
Using Bath Salts is extremely dangerous, even when compared to most other illicit substances. Its use can be life threatening. Not just from the risk of overdose, but the erratic, violent behavior that can be harmful to the user and those around them.
Whenever using a drug like Bath Salts, or any illicit drug, the risks are increased. There is no guaranteed consistency, quality, or safety that comes with illicit drugs. There are no guidelines of what distributors can and can’t use. This means that users could actually be ingesting virtually anything from rat poison to Opioids.
Bath Salts Statistics
In 2010, there were 304 calls to poison centers in the US that involved Bath Salts.
By 2011, the number of calls to US poison centers relating to Bath Salts jumped to 6,138.
Addiction to Bath Salts
While there is little to no consensus on the addictiveness of Bath Salts and there has not been sufficient research to reach definitive conclusions, stimulants are highly addictive in general. Additionally, given their status as an NPS and designer drug, there can be large variances in between batches that can cause dangerous behaviors and make them even more addictive. If someone develops an addiction to Bath Salts, it is imperative to seek a medically assisted detox. Trying to go “cold turkey” often puts someone into a dangerous, violent, or even self-harming, state.
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Finding Treatment for Bath Salts Addiction
If someone you love or you yourself are battling an addiction to Bath Salts, it is crucial to get help as soon as possible. This is an especially dangerous category of drugs that can vary greatly from batch to batch. There is no consistency guaranteed when using drugs of this kind, and any dose could be your last. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to a dedicated treatment provider to help you get started on your road to recovery.
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