Designer drugs of abuse, “bath salts” are not a hygiene product but central nervous stimulants that when taken can lead to dangerous and often adverse reactions in their users. Popularly known as “Flakka,” “Vanilla Sky,” “Cloud Nine,” and “White Dove,” they may be ingested, snorted, or injected.
Most popularly known as “bath salts,” a name that serves as a legal dodge, synthetic cathinones are a family of designer drug stimulants. Cathinone is a chemical found in the “khat” plant, used for centuries in East Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula as a stimulant. Part of an emerging class of drugs known as “new psychoactive substances,” bath salts have played a role in several high-profile news stories in recent years about bath salts drug abuse. Often used by people not fully aware of what they’re taking, bath salts can ruin a life as thoroughly as any other addictive drug.
Bath salts abuse
Until recently, bath salts existed in a legal gray zone similar to synthetic marijuana. Usually manufactured in overseas labs, bath salts are shipped to the United States for sale. In an attempt to skirt drug law, bath salts are still often sold with “not for human consumption” on their packaging. Additionally, manufacturers and dealers often alter the chemical makeup of the drug in order to remain under the radar of law enforcement and customs.
The ever-changing chemical makeup of bath salts makes their effects completely unpredictable. While one package of bath salts may act as a minor stimulant, another may be far more powerful than a similar dose of methamphetamine. Additionally, research on methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), the active ingredient in bath salts has shown that the chemical is more addictive than methamphetamine.
Additionally, the drugs’ reputation for causing severe reactions in their users – often referred to as “excited delirium” – has caused many users to give the drugs a wide berth. However, it’s possible to take bath salts unknowingly, as they are often sold as more popular club drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, and molly. This leaves users unprepared for bath salts’ powerful – and sometimes violent – effects.