Bath Salts: A Disturbing Trend in Drug Abuse

The ingredients of these bath salts that have nothing to do with bathing sometimes includes plant foods, drain cleaners, and pesticides in the mix. Bath salts are also often cut with amphetamines.

The immediate ingredients of these drugs involve lab chemicals called mephedrone, methylone, and another m-word chemical of twenty-six letters that practically screams “Do not put this into your body.”

The drugs are snorted, smoked, injected, or ingested in water.

They are sold in powder or crystal forms, and a small packet costs about twenty dollars.

Any one of the several formulations of the drugs known as bath salts acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system (CNS).

They affect neurotransmitters and can cause an intense craving for more of these drugs even if previous experiences were negative and frightening.

Effects are similar to those of large doses of amphetamines, with side effects reported to be the negative effects of meth, coke, PCP, LSD, and ecstasy combined. The high (so-called) can last four to six hours, or as long as three or four days.

The chemicals involved often trigger violence against one’s self or others.

The use of bath salts can cause intermittent delirium, confusion, paranoia, and other serious psychotic episodes; severe cases can require long-term psychiatric care.

Users report hallucinations involving demons or aliens.

Other side effects include chest pain, high blood pressure, sweating, hyper-alertness, and teeth grinding. There is the possibility of a heart attack or stroke. Body temperature can reach 107 degrees, which can cause seizures. Symptoms may eventually progress to renal or liver failure.

These drugs bear the innocuous street names of Ivory Wave, Bliss, White Lightning, Aura, Cosmic Blast, and Hurricane Charlie. They’re also called Graveyard, Blow, or Chicken Feed, Monkey Dust, or Kryptonite.

In 2010, there were 303 calls to poison control centers for overdose and poisoning by bath salts. By the fall of 2011, that number had grown to more than 5,000.

Investigators have found that the drugs are being manufactured overseas by unscrupulous chemists, and distributed to other countries through maze-like drug pipelines in Europe and the Mid-East.

Often labeled as plant food, toilet bowl cleaner, or glass cleaner, bath salts have been found for sale in corner stores, truck stops, and on the Internet. They are labeled “Not for human consumption.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) suggests that people are using bath salts as alternatives to cocaine and ecstasy, and fear that the dangerous use of these chemicals to get high will continue to spread despite recent bans.

T\he DEA called a year-long ban on the three active chemical ingredients, stating that bath salts are a “growing and significant threat” to the public.

This emergency temporary rule allowed the DEA to classify bath salts as schedule one drugs and gives clear authority to law enforcement to prosecute for the manufacturing, distribution, sale, or possession.

Even with the recent ban, bath salts are still on the market, as manufacturers simply alter one small piece of the molecular structure of one of the three base ingredients to get around the law.

This makes the combined chemicals of bath salts no less dangerous.

The DEA has found that the recreational use of bath salts, though not fatal for all users, could easily spiral out of control and kill thousands of people who take their lives in their hands to spend a few hours in an altered reality.