“Bath Salts” Have Dangerous and Long-Lasting Effects, Doctors Say

Emergency rooms are seeing a growing number of people high on “bath salts,” new stimulant drugs that can cause long-lasting and dangerous effects. The New York Times reports that doctors are trying to determine the best way to treat people high on these synthetic drugs.

Bath salts have grown increasingly popular in the last year. The drugs come in powder and crystal form, and are snorted, injected or smoked. The American Association of Poison Control Centers says poison control centers received 3,470 calls about bath salts during the first six months of this year, a jump from 303 calls in all of 2010.

The article notes that at least 28 states have banned bath salts, which are sold in convenience stores and head shops for $25 to $50 for each 50-milligram packet. They can also be bought online. Bath salts are sold under names including Ivory Wave, Vanilla Sky and Loco-Motion.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is considering whether to classify two chemicals in bath salts, MDPV and mephedrone, as Schedule I drugs, alongside Ecstasy and heroin, according to the newspaper. New York’s Senator Chuck Schumer introduced federal legislation that would classify bath salts as Schedule I drugs, but the bill remains in committee. Chemists can get around state bans by changing just one molecule to make the formulation legal.

Bath salts can cause extreme paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, rapid heart rate, chest pain and suicidal thoughts.

10 Responses to “Bath Salts” Have Dangerous and Long-Lasting Effects, Doctors Say

  1. merle bennett buzzelli | July 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Please submit more information on identifiers, signs and symptoms etc for bath salts. We are seeing an increase in the use of them in our City and I fear that as a large urban school district, this may be something we will begin to see woth our students and need to prepare our schools for what to look for and how to address when the need arises.

  2. WENDY MARKS | July 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    My son was baker acted from a psychotic breakdown from the bath salts SPICE he is 18 has never been to a psychiatric unit and this is devastating to our family. we are hoping that his experience and long road back to recovery will help others.

    • Rebecca Williams | July 18, 2011 at 10:10 pm

      Wendy, I appreciate your post & the honesty you shared about your family. I wish you, your son & your family all of the strength you need to get through this tough time. May you have all the support you need & I wish your son the best during his recovery. You are in my thoughts & prayers tonight.

  3. Debra Dibartolo | July 18, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    We have seen an explosion in bath salts in our community. Patients that have needed extended medical hospitalizations in order to manage their muscle tissue breakdown and kidney damage as well as those that it has taken 5-6 people to restain and an extera ordinary amount of sedation to calm them down to a safe level…We have heard reports of physicians needing to use anesthia in order to chemical restain the patient. And patients with temperatures over 107.

    As far as identifers look for the same sx as any stimulant misuse/overdose. Bath salts are thought to be 4x as potent as Ritalin. But remmber the patient will not have a postive urine screnn with bathsalts—making diagnosis for the denying patient a bit more subjective

  4. W. M. Fightmaster | July 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Please let us reason together. The ‘Drug War’ is an abject failure. Is there any subdivision of your policy component that considers decriminalization or legalization of substances instead of this well intentioned but fundamentally misguided approach to the egregious problem of drug abuse and the attendant social consequences? If so, I’d like a link to it.


    W M Fightmaster

    • Romeo Blackmar | July 19, 2011 at 1:29 pm

      W.M. Fightmaster: According to the head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the so-called “War on Drugs” bumper sticker mentality is dead and buried. Director Kerlikowski, in several speeches and through the ONDCP has repeatedly said that the use of the phrase should be replaced. The drug problems facing this nation and the world are a lot more complex than a three word slogan. We, those of us in prevention, treatment and intervention, all realize that the issues are much deeper than the use of illegal drugs and abuse of legal drugs. I prefer to tell people that the war is over and prevention is our peace treaty. Sign on for prevention, not legalization, decriminalization or prohibition. Prevention is the answer. Simple economic terms; NO DEMAND = NO SUPPLY.

      • Joe | July 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm

        The need for human beings to intoxicate will never be extinguished from society; even for those individuals who have developed a destructive relationship with their substances of choice. Playing games with verbiage isn’t the answer either. Our solution lies through education and treatment for those in need, not trying to change human nature through prohibitionist polices that serve only to make matters worse.

      • Joshua | November 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm

        that is all well and good on paper, but there is demand, and there has been since the dawn of time and it will continue regarless of how much prevention happens. the war on drug users is ongoing as long as drugs are categorically illegal. the reason people tunr to spice, or bath salts is that they are legal alternatives to marijuanna. the problem is that they are poisonous where mj is not. by banning mj, which is far safer, and datural the prevention croud has directly created the problems with spice and bath salts.

  5. joebanana | July 18, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Sounds just like the prescription drugs they advertise on TV. Only not as bad as some of them, and they’re approved by the government? Lets face it, the government has absolutely no business in the choices we make on what we choose to consume. If it causes the law to be broken, arrest the person. If it doesn’t we don’t need more reasons to lock non-violent people up. We need to criminalize governmental lying.

  6. Julie Smith | November 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    My daughter has been in a pyschiatric hospital for over a week now because of bath salts. Dr. is getting ready to declare her mental impairment as permenant. I have been going through my own pyschosis.

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