Sunday, July 14th, 2024

Bath Salt Use

 Bath salts are the latest in a line of “legal” synthetic drugs to hit the market.  Bath salts are marketed and sold under the guise of bath additives, which is why they are legal in many states. Law enforcement officials are alarmed at the effects of these drugs, which have been known to cause paranoia and intense hallucinations. Emergency room personnel report that patients who have engaged in bath salt use are so highly agitated and violent that they sometimes require a whole medical team to restrain them. Sometimes even powerful sedatives are not sufficient in calming these people down. Bath salt use started turning up regularly in the United States last year and has proliferated in recent months, alarming doctors, who say they have unusually dangerous and long-lasting effects.

Bath salts are sold legally online and in drug paraphernalia stores under a variety of names, such as “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Red Dove,” “Blue Silk,” “Zoom,” “Bloom,” “Cloud Nine,” “Ocean Snow,” “Lunar Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” “White Lightning,” “Scarface,” and “Hurricane Charlie.” Because formulations of bath salts change so often in an attempt to keep ahead of laws prohibiting their manufacture, very little is known about the chemical makeup of the drug. What we do know is that bath salts contain synthetic stimulant drugs of the amphetamine and cathinone classes, such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPDV), mephedrone and pyrovalerone.   Many people who engage in bath salt use compare their effects to methamphetamine. Bath salts are typically administered orally, by insufflation, by inhalation, or by injection, with the worst outcomes apparently associated with snorting or intravenous administration.

Drugs like bath salts and the synthetic cannabis known as “spice” are specifically manufactured to circumvent the laws that regulate legal drugs. Lawmakers are having a hard time regulating bath salt use; because manufacturers can slightly tweak the formulation by the time the laws have passed. Some states are now cracking down on the chemicals used to make bath salts, rather than the product itself. At least four states are considering legislation to give the state pharmacy board the authority to ban the sale of the chemicals used to make bath salts.

Experts say much of the US’s bath salt supply is coming from China and India, where chemical manufacturers have less government oversight. Bath salts are labeled “not for human consumption,” which helps them avoid the federal Analog Act, under which any substance “substantially similar” to a banned drug is deemed illegal if it is intended for consumption.

Because bath salt use is relatively new to the drug scene, little is known about the long-term effects. Poison control center calls regarding bath salt use have increased 10 fold in the last year. The drug has some properties of methamphetamine and cocaine use. In some cases, the bath salt use has been shown to cause complete psychosis. Medical professionals report dangerously elevated blood pressure and heart rates and people so agitated that their muscles started to break down, releasing chemicals that led to kidney failure. Bath salt use has also been known to trigger intense cravings, and have a high potential for abuse and addiction.