In 2009 there were no calls to the Poison Control Center in regards to bath salts. In 2011 there were more than 6,000. Parents are concerned about this dangerous drug, but many don’t know much about it and are confused about the facts.
Bath Salts hit national news this year, hitting its peak when one Florida man, high on bath salts, was found eating the face of another man. A few years before, two adults in Pennsylvania died of hypothermia in the woods and had bath salts in their system and paraphernalia in their car. There have been numerous accounts of overdose and other accidents by teen users recorded all over the country.
This new designer drug is wildly dangerous and far too common for the parents of teens to ignore. The over the counter drug was sold at mini-marts and smoke shops. Like many other substances before it, this drug was stuck in a legal gray area: It probably should have been illegal, but the law hadn’t caught up yet. In October of 2011 the Drug Enforcement Agency placed bath salts on the list of schedule one drugs, or most dangerous, for one year, pending an investigation. It is expected that bath salts will be permanently remain on the list. As parents know, though, the illegality of a drug does not stop its use, so it is important to know all you can about the drug.
Most importantly, despite their name, bath salts are not what you would buy in the bath and soap aisle. While they can look similar, they often come in much smaller packages at the front counters of stores. They often read “not for human consumption” and are a small packet priced much higher than you would pay for Epsom Salts.
Bath salts are often found under names like purple wave, zoom, vanilla sky, cloud nine, ivory wave, and bliss. They contain the drug MDPV, or Methylenedioxypyrovalerone. The salts are usually swallowed, snorted or injected to get high.
What’s the point of bath salts?
According to Wikipedia, most individuals who use bath salts are hoping to experience
- Increased alertness and awareness
- Increased wakefulness and arousal
- Increased energy and motivation
- Mental stimulation/increased concentration
- Increased sociability
- Sexual stimulation/aphrodisiac effects
- Less need for food and sleep
What are the side effects, and how can I tell if my teen is using bath salts?
Bath salts are similar to stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine. Bath salts have also been described to be similar in effect to LSD, PCP, and heroin, and often a combination of some or all.
Here is a list of side effects:
- Increased heart rate
- Panic attacks
- Nose bleeds
- Suicidal thoughts and actions
- Chest pains
- Pupil dilation
It is important to note that there is no drug test available to test for MDPV, and there’s therefore no way to test to see if your teen is using it. Because the drug is such a recent phenomenon, it is unknown if bath salts are truly addictive. We do know, however, that bath salts are a stimulant, and stimulants may cause a craving that can lead to addition. The long term effects of bath salts are unknown, but with similar stimulants long term use can lead to a laundry list of heart, respiratory, and mental issues.
If you suspect your teen is using bath salts it is important to talk to them and seek professional help right away. As always, it is important to try to keep an open dialogue with your teen, whether you suspect they are using the drug or not. Talking with your teen about the facts is an important way to get them to understand the true dangers of the drug.