Bath salts are any drug related to cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant found naturally in the khat plant. Bath salts can lead to intoxication and unpredictable behavior. Chemically, bath salts are similar to MDMA, also known as ecstasy. It is also similar to amphetamines and can be dangerous.
What Are Bath Salts?
Bath salts are odorless. They get their name due to their appearance. They are clear rocks that sometimes have colors added to them. The name is also beneficial for manufacturers who want to hide the fact that they are selling illicit drugs. Instead of placing truthful statements on the packaging, such as “Powerful drugs that make you hallucinate,” manufacturers place the drugs in foil packages stamped, “Not for consumption.”
Bath salts may also have innocent-sounding names, such as:
- Ivory Wave
- Cloud Nine
- Blue Silk
- Ocean Snow
- Meow Meow
At one time, bath salts were available in head shops. Since the ingredients were not declared illegal, buyers could pick up packets of bath salts at these stores. Buyers who preferred a less direct route could order from online retailers.
The Dangers of Bath Salts
Unfortunately, many bath salts also contain other ingredients, which are largely unknown. While experts have theories about how these substances work within the human body, specific formulations of bath salts are completely unknown, and some manufacturers change their ingredient lists on a regular basis, in order to elude law enforcement action. If one ingredient is banned, manufacturers simply switch to another ingredient, or if manufacturers cannot obtain one ingredient, they simply substitute another in its place. As a result, people may be taking health risks. Most noteworthy, no one is really sure what the drugs are, or exactly what they can cause when they’re taken.
Common Effects of Bath Salts
As mentioned, it’s difficult to know exactly what bath salts will do in each and every person who takes them, but researchers report that some physical symptoms are common in people who abuse bath salts. For example, in a 2011 edition of MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers looked at symptoms experienced by 35 people who had visited an emergency room due to bath salts.
Of those patients:
- 66 percent were agitated
- 63 percent had a fast heart rate
- 40 percent were hallucinating
- One had died
This cluster of paranoia, agitation and a racing heart seems common in people who take bath salts, and the bath salts can keep these symptoms in play for an incredibly long time. According to the Partnership at Drugfree.org, these symptoms can begin to take hold in about 15 minutes, and the symptoms can last for about four to six hours.
There is some evidence to suggest that teens are drawn to bath salts, as the drugs are easy to find and relatively inexpensive to buy. Many states have enacted strict laws to ban all bath salts outright, while some have moved to ban specific ingredients included in some forms of bath salts. As a result of these factors, the number of people who abuse bath salts seems to be on the decline.
What to Do
Parents may discover their teens are taking bath salts when their normally placid teen becomes angry, violent or upset for no given reason. The teen might rant and rave, or talk to people who aren’t there, and the teen might not be responsive to basic questions. Parents who discover their teens in this state should take the teen to the emergency room, and if possible, bring along the packet the bath salts came in. As a study published in the Journal of the Mississippi State Medical Association makes clear, ingredients found in bath salts don’t always show up in blood or urine tests commonly given to people who are on drugs.
Once the teen is stable and feeling more reasonable, parents can then discuss the next steps. These drugs can be quite addictive, and it can be hard for teens to overcome that addiction alone. With the help of a reputable rehab program, teens can learn to overcome their addictions and establish lives that don’t include drug use.
Please call us at Newport Academy to find out more about our program, and how we can help your teen get better.