While there is still a great deal of information that is unknown about the abuse of bath salts (also referred to as Ivory Wave, Red Dove, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning and other names) there is one thing that is certain: bath salts are quickly being recognized as some of the most addictive and dangerous substances known. This is especially troublesome considering that with rare exceptions these drugs are completely legal for purchase almost everywhere in the United States. And with there being no age limit to purchase bath salts, there could be a surge in the amount of teens and young adults who become physically addicted to these potentially deadly drugs.
Bath salts are powdery substances that are marketed – at least on the surface – as natural relaxant herbs and compounds that can be placed in bath water. However, the chemicals in bath salts are nearly identical to those found in certain plant foods and fertilizers and have effects that are similar to street drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine. But because bath salts are labeled as “Not for Human Consumption,” there is no regulation of the substances in these products, leading many to consume bath salts with dangerous additives and toxins.
The psychoactive compounds in most bath salts are Cathione, MDPV and Mephedrone. These drugs cause severe hallucinations that by most accounts are extremely unpleasant. Despite this fact, the substances cause intense cravings and addictions to the drugs are formed rapidly. Many users report that the “high” or “trip” is awful but that they find themselves compelled to do it again and again.
This is especially concerning because bath salts cause people to become psychotic. Users report episodes of cutting and mutilating themselves, performing surgeries on themselves, becoming violent, paranoid, aggressive, and some have committed suicide. One very recent case involves a man who allegedly killed a police officer while high on bath salts. Another case involved a hospitalized person who remained in a state of bath-salt induced psychosis nearly two weeks after last using the drug.
States such as Louisiana and Florida have already taken emergency action to ban the substances, but experts fear that manufacturers will simply reformulate the products, effectively keeping them on the market indefinitely. Other states have taken steps to outlaw bath salts, but they are still legal at a federal level. The DEA and FDA have indicated that bath salts are currently “substances of interest” but have not stated specific actions that might be taken.
Emergency rooms and poison control centers around the country report increasing numbers of instances related to bath salt abuse. Attending physicians have been deeply troubled by the apparent ability of bath salts to negate the effects of important treatment drugs such as Valium or Xanax. It is unclear at this point if traditional addiction treatment will apply directly to bath salt addiction, or if there will be some other treatment aspect associated with this particular substance, such as therapy for drug-induced semi-permanent psychosis.
If you need help for an addiction to bath salts, you should know that time is of the essence. Because this is a very new drug trend, it is unknown what the long-term effects of bath salt abuse could be. Don’t take any chances- pick up the phone and call for help right now.