The synthetic stimulant known on the street as “bath salts” is relatively new to the recreational drug trade locally. So new, in fact that the legislation needed to ban it is still being created. As a result, this dangerous, mind-altering chemical is now being sold legally on the internet and at some drug paraphernalia stores.
Unfortunately, knowledge is limited about the precise chemical composition of bath salts, as well as its short- and long-term effects. And, in some cases, bath salts sold on the street have later been found to contain potentially lethal rat poison.
What we know
We know that bath salts often contain a chemical cocktail that simulates amphetamines, like methedrone and mephedrone. These drugs act as stimulants on the brain, making them highly addictive and prone to abuse.
Bath salts are very easy to find and buy, but they’re not cheap. As a result, the drugs are often mixed with other substances and sold at a lower price, making them more attainable and affordable for younger users.
Different Name, Same Drug
Despite an advisory that reads, “Not intended for human consumption,” bath salts are otherwise packaged to appeal to younger users by being sold under names like Ivory Wave, Red Dove, Zoom, White Lightening or Ocean Snow.
While bath salts have been known to provoke extremely violent behavior in some people, these are extreme cases, and should not be used as reference points.
Doctors and clinicians say use of bath salts can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure and heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia and delusions.
Some users report feeling euphoric, while others say they feel more alert, confident and talkative. However, along with these “highs,” most users often report heart palpitations, blurred vision, hot flashes and muscle tension. In some cases, users have also reported nausea or vomiting, resulting in decreased appetite.
Though little evidence suggests bath salts are physically addictive, users say it’s tough to stop using the drug once they’ve started. In fact, long-term use may result in psychological dependence.
What to do if you suspect bath salt use
If you suspect someone you know is using bath salts, seek help as quickly as possible. In case of emergency, go immediately to your nearest hospital emergency department. In less urgent circumstances, please call the professionals at St. Elizabeth Healthcare Intensive Outpatient Program for Drug and Alcohol Treatment at (859) 301-5900.