Bath Salts Addiction
One of the most recent developments on the teen drug scene is bath salts addiction. Although the name sounds harmless, bath salts have been banned in 35 states and are being evaluated by the Drug Enforcement Agency because of their dangerous, and even life-threatening, effects.
What Are Bath Salts?
Bath salts are stimulants similar to meth and cocaine. They come in powder and crystal form, similar to traditional bath salts, and are typically snorted, injected or smoked. Poison Control officials have also reported bath salts being sold under the guise of plant food, pond scum remover and other seemingly innocuous products.
Experts believe the active chemicals in bath salts are mephedrone and MDPV (methylenedioxypyrovalerone), which are related to khat, an organic stimulant that is illegal in the U.S. Because there is no way to test for bath salts, their make-up is largely a guessing game.
Known on the street as White Rush, Red Dove, Monkey Dust, White Lightning, Blue Silk, Vanilla Sky, Aura, Hurricane Charlie, Ivory Wave, Loco-Motion and many others, bath salts are sold at head shops, convenience stores and on the Internet for as little as $20 each.
Effects of Bath Salts Addiction
Labeled “not for human consumption” to skirt federal laws, this warning should be a sign of the potential consequences of bath salt addiction. People who come into the emergency room high on bath salts are typically violent and agitated. Other effects of bath salt addiction include:
- Panic attacks
- Chest pain
- Suicidal thoughts
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
Even days or months after the drug has worn off, users can feel disconnected from reality and suicidal. In addition to being highly addictive, bath salts can cause kidney failure, heart attack, seizures, muscle damage and stroke. There have been a number of deaths reported across the country.
A list of effects does little to convey how serious bath salts addiction can be. The stories shared by reporters throughout the country paint a grim picture of the consequences of bath salt addiction:
- In Panama City, Fla., a woman attacked her mother with a machete because she believed she was a monster.
- A man in Mississippi got high on bath salts and then slit his face and stomach repeatedly with a skinning knife.
- A group of officers subdued a Florida man who tore a radar unit out of a police car with his teeth.
- A 29-year-old Indianapolis woman led police on a wild car chase that led to her crashing several squad cars into a state park. When she was removed from the car, she was “incoherent, laughing uncontrollably and speaking nonsense,” according to the Chesterton Tribune.
- A 21-year-old slit his neck in front of his father and sister, believing the police were after him, and later shot himself.
- In Mississippi, a deputy was injured because a man under the influence of bath salts thought the officer was a devil.
Because the drugs are legal, the man was only charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.
In spite of these horrible effects, users experience such strong cravings that they continue to abuse bath salts.
According to Mark Ryan, the director of the Louisiana Poison Center, “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 all together this is what you get. It’s ugly.”