There has been a lot of talk lately about the new drug, bath salts, and while the concoction is illegal in many states, some areas of the country are still unaware of the dangers of this drug. The use of this drug is spreading like wildfire, however, and states that haven’t seen its abuse soon will.
A Synthetic Drug
Bath salts is the newest designer drug to hit our country and it is quickly becoming popular among recreational drug users. The drug consists of synthetic chemicals like mephedrone and MDPV, although each batch is different. That’s part of the danger with this drug – you never know what you’re going to get. The unpredictability, along with the fact that it is labeled “not for human consumption”, makes it very hard to track and regulate. “Drug makers will keep creating new combinations at home and in illicit labs,” Zane Horowitz, MD, medical director of the Oregon Poison Center says. “It’s almost impossible to keep up. And the motivation for buying them is always the same: Drugs like these are new and below the radar, unlike named illegal drugs.” (1)
Banning Bath Salts
At least 31 states have banned the substance, also known as Ivory Wave, and authorities are hoping the federal government will make it illegal. The DEA has already begun looking at the substances that make up bath salts and will most likely list them as Schedule I within the next year.
Bath salts is a serious drug. It causes agitation, extreme paranoia, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts. High blood pressure and increased temperature are also common. One report tells of a man with a temperature of 107.5 degrees Fahrenheit after taking bath salts. “Some of these folks aren’t right for a long time,” said Karen E. Simone, director of the Northern New England Poison Center. “If you gave me a list of drugs that I wouldn’t want to touch, this would be at the top.” (1)
But the problem is that not everyone experiences such drastic effects. “One person could take it and have a great time and the next person takes it and has a horror story,” police Chief John DeLeo, of Ellsworth, Maine, said. (2) Mark Ryan, the director of the Louisiana Poison Center, said, “if you take the worst attributes of meth, coke, PCP, LSD and ecstasy and put them together, that’s what we’re seeing sometimes.” (3)
Paranoia and Hallucinations
Some people become so paranoid after using the drug that it takes a whole team of physicians to handle them. “We had two instances in particular where they were acting out in a very violent manner and they were Tasered and it had no effect,” Chief Joseph H. Murton, of Pottsville, PA said. “One was only a small female, but it took four officers to hold her down, along with two orderlies. That’s how out of control she was.” (3)
Other emergency room doctors have resorted to general anesthesia to calm patients down because sedatives alone do not work. Some users continue to suffer from paranoia for weeks after use of this drug.
With the unpredictable nature of this drug, it is amazing people still continue to use, but the numbers keep rising. In 2010, only 303 calls were made to poison control centers about this drug. The number has already risen to 3,470 calls for the first half of 2011. Police departments are becoming overwhelmed. “Bath salts is quickly becoming an epidemic for law enforcement and something we are all starting to deal with,” Police Lt. Michael L. Moody, of Brunswick, Maine, said. (2) The dangers of this drug are not something to take lightly.