Recently, the use of “Bath Salts” has been in the news with stories of what youth are calling zombie attacks. Most recently an incident involving cannibalistic behavior has been linked to this drug. In response to the rise in the popularity of synthetic drugs, DeKalb County Partnership for a Safe, Active and Family Environment (DCP/SAFE) desires to inform the public of the dangers of these substances.
“Bath salts” should not be confused with traditional bath salts. The drug form is produced in a lab without regulation and includes ingredients such as mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). Like cocaine, meth and speed, bath salts work by stimulating the central nervous system. The use of bath salts can cause chest pain, high blood pressure, an increased heart rate, agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, and also delusions. These drugs are similar to amphetamines and carry with them a high likelihood of abuse and addiction. Bath salts are typically administered orally, by snorting, or by injection, with the worst outcomes associated with snorting or intravenous administration.
In 2011, poison control centers reported a 20 fold increase in calls relating to bath salt use according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) calls the increase in bath salts use to be “a rapidly emerging threat.” In response to this threat, ONDCP has been working in conjunction with legislators and non- governmental entities to develop policies to deal with the dangers of synthetic drugs like bath salts. Authorities struggle to keep up as the producers of this illegal drug modify the product to circumvent the law. They are sold online and in “head shops” as a crystallized powder in up to 500 milligram packets. Bath Salts come in a variety of names to include Ivory Wave, Purple Wave, Bliss, Red Dove, Vanilla Sky, Cloud 9, and several others.
As stated by Nora D. Volkow, M.D., National Institute on Drug Abuse Director, “because these products are relatively new to the drug abuse scene, our knowledge about their precise chemical composition and short- and long-term effects is limited, yet the information we do have is worrisome and warrants a proactive stance to understand and minimize any potential dangers to the health of the public.”
The mission of DCP/SAFE is to promote a healthy community with one of its goals being to reduce alcohol and substance abuse among youth. The use of synthetic drugs such as bath salts pose a threat to the health and well being of our youth, families, and community. For more information about the dangers of bath salts and other synthetic drugs visit www.drugabuse.gov.