Bath Salts Abuse
Bath salts are commonly abused drugs which came out only recently, more specifically at the end part of the last ten years. In fact, it was only in July 2012 when President Barack Obama signed into law which made marijuana substitutes as well as mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone or MDPV—two drugs belonging to the bath salts category— illegal. Bath salts contain at least one synthetic chemical that have cathinone, a stimulant that can be likened to amphetamine which is inherently found in the Khat plant. Before proceeding further, it should be made clear that bath salts are not the same as Epsom salts which are commonly used in bathing. The latter does not have any dangerous effects to health.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, bath salts are marketed under such brands as “Ivory Wave,” “White Lightning,” “Scarface,” “Bloom,” “Cloud Nine,” “Lunar Wave” and “Vanilla Sky.” The plastic or foil packages typically hold crystalline powders that are white or brown in color. Bath salts are often labeled as “not for human consumption” and may also be dubbed as a food for plants or as a cleaner for jewelry or phone screens.
What makes bath salts addictive is that they produce a feeling of euphoria, makes one more sociable and enhances a person’s sex drive. However, these synthetic canthinones products are dangerous because they have been associated with the burgeoning number of emergency room and poison control center visits. Users had to be wheeled in for medical attention for high blood pressure, chest pains and a host of other cardiac symptoms. Some of them also exhibited paranoia, panic attacks, hallucinations and other psychiatric symptoms. There are other serious effects side effects of bath salts. These include dehydration, kidney failure, skeletal muscle tissue breakdown and even death.
Early results of studies show that synthetic cathinones are very addictive. Users of bath salts say that they feel a very intense urge to take the drug again. Continued use leads to tolerance and dependence. When a user is weaned away from the drug, strong withdrawal symptoms are commonly exhibited. What compounds the risk of using bath salts is that they often contain other ingredients that are not yet identified that can potentially cause other dangerous health effects.
Bath salts can be inhaled, injected or taken orally. The worst effects are said to be found when a user snorts or injects the substance. The effects of bath salts are often similar to that of amphetamines and cocaine which increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain which leads to feelings of euphoria, increased activity, elevated heart rate and blood pressure levels. The NIDA said that MDPV increases dopamine levels in the brain the way cocaine does “but is at least 10 times more potent.”
Just like other drug addicts, a person who has a dependency to bath salts can still be treated. Drug addiction is now considered as a brain disorder which, with the right drug rehabilitation program, can still wean an addict from the substance for the long-term.