Bath Salts Abuse
Until recently, bath salts existed in a legal grey zone similar to synthetic marijuana. Usually manufactured in overseas labs, bath salts are shipped to the United States for sale. Bath salts are still often sold with “not for human consumption” on their packaging as an attempt to skirt drug laws. 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. 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 the chemical is more addictive than methamphetamine.
Bath salts’ 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’re often sold as more popular club drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and molly. This leaves users unprepared for bath salts’ powerful – and sometimes violent – effects.
Symptoms of Bath Salts Abuse
Red Flags of Bath Salts Abuse
- Extreme panic and agitation
- Dangerously high body temperature
- Pacing, uncontrolled body movement and self-harm
Bath Salts and the Body
Bath salts can be smoked, injected, snorted or swallowed. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), researchers still don’t know how MDPV works on the brain. Synthetic cathinones are chemically similar to other illicit stimulants such as cocaine – a recent study found MDPV interacts with the brain similarly to cocaine, but is at least 10 times stronger.
It’s very hard to predict the exact effects a dose of bath salts is going to have – the drug’s changing chemical makeup makes predicting a user’s experience almost impossible. In general, bath salts drug abuse can bring euphoria and increased mental awareness and energy – however, those effects come at a price. According to NIDA, users also experience paranoia, wild emotional swings and even hallucinations.
Most infamously, some users experience what has become known as “excited delirium,” a somewhat controversial term which describes a variety of symptoms, including intense anxiety, aggressive behavior, psychosis and even superhuman strength. The term is not recognized by the American Medical Association or the American Psychological Association. Nevertheless, bath salts’ unpredictable effects present a unique risk to even one-time users.