Anything but Bath Salts

by Ned Wicker

People are always looking for a new way to bend the rules, or find a way to circumvent the spirit of any law designed to protect public health. This time it’s bath salts.


We’re not talking about the bath powder that one puts into a pan of hot water to ease the aches and pains of tied feet, but dangerous synthetic stimulants.

Of course, the manufacturers of this junk take caution to warn that the product is “not for human consumption,” just like the fake pot is incense and not meant to be smoked.

Very seroius drug

The “bath salts” are not dumped into hot water to provide relief, like Epsom salt. They are snorted like cocaine, or injected, or eaten. But the effects are frightening. WebMD reports that the drug can cause paranoia, hallucinations, agitation, chest pains, high blood pressure and increased pulse. People can become suicidal.

While commonly purchased bath salts are widely known, this new stuff is not. Nobody knows what’s in it. There hasn’t been enough research yet, and so I would imagine that the manufacturers and head shop owners will cry foul when more states ban the substance.

The salts contain mephedrone, which is found in other designer drugs, those substances concocted in illegal laboratories by those trying to stay one step ahead of the sheriff. They are, as they say, “under the radar” and although they mimic the illegal street drug, they are nevertheless “legal” because the law has not caught up with them yet.

The MDPV (methylenedioxypyrovalerone) is known to be linked to suicides, but the manufacturers of the “bath salts” are mixing an illegal brew with pyrovalerone derivatives, and there has been no government testing.

So why do people buy this?

People are always looking for a high, and the bath salts can produce a high similar to that of cocaine. According to the San Jose Mercury News, there has been 4137 “bath salt” cases reported to poison controls as of the end of July 2011, compared to 302 in 2010.

Clearly they are gaining in popularity and there is movement now to create a federal ban on the “bath salts” even though several states have already taken action. It is not known yet if these “bath salts” are addictive. There has not been enough research. They are, however, toxic and that’s an issue.

If the substance produces an effect similar to that of cocaine, then it stands to reason that cocaine-like cravings might be a possible side effect. It’s sold as Ivory Snow, Red Dove, Bliss, Hurricane Charlie and Vanilla Sky, but it’s real intent is a means of getting an intense high legally.

As powerful as meth

The Washington Post wrote that Law enforcement said the effects can be as “powerful as methamphetamine.” The side effects are really the issue. One former heroin user tried “bath salts” and wound up taking a knife and cutting up his face and stomach.

He survived and later said the psychological effects were still with him long after his hospitalization for the self-inflicted wounds. Reports of suicides have emerged from all over the country. Even though the substance causes dreadful side effects, like a very bad trip, the cravings are so intense that users keep doing it.

Not regulated by the government

The “bath salts” are not regulated by the government. The feds are examining the issue, but no action has yet been taken. The Drug Enforcement Administration must undergo a lengthy process, by law which can take years before they can do anything.

While it is suspected that some of these drugs are coming into the country from Europe, as previously mentioned, there are the illegal labs here in this country which go largely undetected and cause a headache for law enforcement.

The states have more flexibility and can probably be as effective as the feds. Louisiana, for example, banned bath salts in January and they have noticed a dramatic decrease in use and poison control and emergency room reports.

If one state bans “bath salts” the kids will likely hop in the car and go to a neighboring state to buy it, usually for around $20 a package. Unknowing and unsuspecting, the young people who abuse this drug are completely unaware that they might take their own life, literally lose control of themselves, or cause irreparable harm.

May seem harmless but NOT SO!

You’d never suspect that something with an innocent name like Ivory Snow would be so dreadfully lethal. But it’s the new fad and it’s growing into an enormous problem.

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