Not Your Mother’s Bath Salts: Synthetic Drug Linked to Suicide and Extreme Paranoia

Crossroads for Women, based in Portland, Maine, is starting to hear client reports of the use of bath salts.

We’re not taking about the bath salts you use after a long day at work in the bathtub. These are definitely not your mother’s bath salts.

You may have heard about this new synthetic drug in the news. If not, you should be aware of it, particularly because it’s not technically illegal in most states. Poison centers around the country have had calls about the synthetic stimulant and some states are starting to ban it, but there is no federal law prohibiting it.

Here is some of what is known about the drug known simply as bath salts:

  • Bath salts are a designer or synthetic drug that contain mephedrone or MDPV, an amphetamine
  • MDPV and mephedrone are made in a lab and aren’t regulated because they’re not marketed for human consumption
  • The effects of the drug are similar to methamphetamine and cocaine
  • They are found online or in stores under names like Zoom 2,  Aura, Ivory Wave, Red Dove , Bliss, White Lightning, Hurricane Charlie or Vanilla Sky
  • The drug can be snorted, swallowed, injected or smoked
  • A small packet of the chemicals typically costs as little as $10 to $20
  • Physical effects can include increased blood pressure and heart rate, extreme agitation, chest pain, heart attack and stroke
  • Psychological effects can include delusions, suicidal thoughts, paranoia and psychosis
  • Bath salts are thought to be highly addictive and dangerous
  • The chemicals are in products sold legally at convenience stores and on the Internet as bath salts and even plant foods
  • In the first 3 months of 2011, poison control centers received more than 1,400 calls for bath salts, compared with 301 in all of 2010
  • Medical emergencies stemming from synthetic drugs like bath salts could rise nearly fivefold by the end of 2011
  • The drugs are suspected in at least 9 deaths in the U.S. since last year (from an article dated 4/6/11)
  • The DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) has labeled bath salts a drug of concern
  • The origins of the drug are still unclear
  • Right now, there’s no test to pick up this drug; the only way we know if someone has taken them is through anecdotal evidence
  • The European Union, Australia, Canada, Israel and several states, including Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, North Dakota and West Virginia have already banned the substances or are considering legislation to do so

What have you seen or heard about this synthetic drug? Clearly, we need to be aware of it and work to get it out of people’s hands.

ABC Officials: ‘Bath Salts’ Are Growing Drug Problem
CBS DEA Names “Bath Salts” a Drug of Concern
The Partnership at Drug Czar Issues ’Bath Salts’ Warning
The Partnership at Synthetic Drugs Cause Alarming Increase in Medical Emergencies
WebMD: ‘Bath Salts’ Drug Trend: Expert Q&A