Understanding the Dangers of Bath Salts
You have probably heard the news about a group of drugs known as “bath salts.” WebMD says these drugs come with designer names like “Ivory Wave,” and “Vanilla Sky,” but unlike what you might think, the bath salts designed to get you high are not the same crystals that go in the bathtub.
This article explains what bath salts are and why they are so dangerous. What are the symptoms of bath salt abuse and addiction? Where can you get help for addiction in Seattle?
Bath Salts and Seattle Drug Rehab
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says the street drugs called “bath salts” are actually synthetic cathinones, or “human-made stimulants chemically related to cathinone, a substance found in the khat plant.” Man-made cathinones include MDPV, mephedrone, mephedrone, and butylene, and they have caused death in users.
The khat shrub is native to East Africa where it is chewed for its stimulant effects. However, the human-made version of this stimulant is much more intense and can be extremely dangerous.
On the street, bath salts are often sold in a small bag labeled as plant food or jewelry cleaner. The labels say “not for human consumption,” which is one way manufacturers skirt the laws and still sell the drugs. These drugs have also been disguised as bath salts for bathing.
The NIH calls these types of synthetic chemicals “new psychoactive substances” (NPS). These are mind-altering drugs that have no medical use and are chemically synthesized in an illegal street lab. These drugs are cheap, making them an attractive alternative to other stimulants like cocaine.
Harmful Effects of Bath Salts
Bath salts can be snorted, smoked, injected, or swallowed and the effect is fast – and potentially deadly. The NIH reports that one study showed this class of drugs to be 10 times more powerful than cocaine. This graphic video shows some of the intensely violent and aggressive behavior that can occur from taking these drugs.
Bath salts can cause the user to suffer:
- Extreme paranoia
- Severe intoxication
- Vivid hallucinations
- Panic Attacks
- Excitement and delirium
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Chest pain
- Violent behavior and agitation
- Increased sex drive
- Kidney Failure
Synthetic cathinones can be addictive; animal studies have shown that rats will obsessively administer the drug. Withdrawal from bath salts can be very intense, with suicidal thoughts, sleep disturbances, tremors, and anxiety causing the substance user considerable distress.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens (NIDA for Teens) reports that bath salts have caused thousands of ER trips; in 2011 there are 22,904 visits caused by bath salts. That same year poison control hotlines took over 6,000 calls when people were exposed to these terrifying drugs.
People using bath salts will lose weight, act erratically or violently, and engage in drug-seeking behaviors. They may lose their jobs or refuse to leave their homes. As the drug takes hold, their behaviors will seem more bizarre and different from the person you once knew.