Bath Salts’ Dangerous Effects to Your Health: Worse Than Cocaine?

Bath Salts’ Dangerous Effects to Your Health: Worse Than Cocaine? Are bath salts dangerous to your health? Well, it depends on whether you are talking about your regular bath salt which is safe or “bath salt” which contains Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) which, according to the San Francisco Examiner, can “cause hallucinations, paranoia, rapid heart rates and suicidal thoughts, leading to overdoses and possible death”.

According to law enforcement authorities, the MPDV-laced “bath salt” is actually cocaine masquerading as a “bath salt”.

For this reason, some states such as Mississippi and Kentucky are reportedly thinking of banning the powder. It is already banned in Louisiana according to the Chicago Sun Times following 125 calls, involving the use of bath salts, to the state’s poison center.

Marketed as Ivory Wave, Bliss, Hurricane Charlie, White Lightning, Vanilla Sky, Scarface, White Dove, Charge Plus, Ocean, Red Dove, Super Coke, Peeve, Magic, Mtv, Cloud 9, etc, these “bath salts” are made from a combination of the stimulants methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and mephedrone.

Here’s what methylenedioxypyrovalerone will do to you when it gets into your system (via wikipedia): MDPV acts as a stimulant and has been reported to have amphetamine-like or cocaine-type effects. The acute effects may include:

  • Physical: rapid heartbeat, increase in blood pressure, vasoconstriction, sweating
  • Mental: euphoria, increases in alertness & awareness, increased wakefulness and arousal, anxiety, agitation, perception of a diminished requirement for food and sleep.

As for mephedrone, these are its side effects (via wiki):

According to drugs counsellors on Teesside, UK, mephedrone can cause hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, blood circulation problems, rashes, anxiety, paranoia, fits and delusions. According to the drugs advice charity, Crew2000, other side effects may include poor concentration, poor short-term memory, increased heart rate, abnormal heart beats, anxiety, depression, increased sweating, dilated pupils, the inability to normally open the mouth, and teeth grinding. When snorted it can also cause nose bleeds and nose burns.

Some news reports across the country about this dangerous drug masquerading as a “bath salt”:
Chicago Sun Times:

When Neil Brown got high on bath salts, he took his skinning knife and slit his face and stomach repeatedly. Brown survived, but authorities say others haven’t been so lucky after snorting, injecting or smoking powders labeled as bath salts.

The effects of the powders are as powerful as abusing methamphetamine, according to some law enforcement agents. Authorities and poison control centers say the bath salts are an emerging menace in several U.S. states, and some officials are trying to ban their sale.

WECT News:

‘Mike,’ a 16-year-old Shelby County resident whose identify we’ve agreed to conceal, said in a recent interview he was once addicted to bath salts.

“I was actually spending every cent I could find on this stuff,” he said. “I tried it, and after the first time, it all went down hill. I was, like, addicted from that time on. I just couldn’t stop.”

Substance abuse experts say some types of bath salts are the equivalent of synthetic cocaine. The salts, sold in quantities about the size of a tea bag, mimic the effects of cocaine when ingested.

“It’s like you’re so used to the feeling you don’t even want to be sober anymore,” Mike said. “You just want to go out and get more. It’s not about fun anymore. You just can’t live without it.”

Update (07 September 2011): The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has announced a temporary ban on bath salts across the United States. The ban is “for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled.”

Except when you’re authorized by law, it is now illegal to possess and sell bath salt “chemicals or the products that contain them”.

Here’s part of the DEA statement on why they finally decided to ban the controversial drug:

Over the past few months, there has been a growing use of, and interest in, synthetic stimulants sold under the guise of “bath salts” or “plant food”. Marketed under names such as “Ivory Wave”, “Purple Wave”, “Vanilla Sky” or “Bliss”, these products are comprised of a class of chemicals perceived as mimics of cocaine, LSD, MDMA, and/or methamphetamine. Users have reported impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia, and violent episodes.

The long-term physical and psychological effects of use are unknown but potentially severe. These products have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet. However, they have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption or for medical use, and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process.

In the last six months, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding products containing one or more of these chemicals. Thirty-three states have already taken action to control or ban these or other synthetic stimulants.

The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to allow the DEA Administrator to temporarily schedule an abused, harmful, non-medical substance in order to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety while the formal rule-making procedures described in the CSA are being conducted.

Bath Salts’ Dangerous Effects to Your Health: Worse Than Cocaine? Posted 24 January 2011. Last updated 13 September 2011.