Bath salt abuse is rapidly becoming an epidemic in the United States. Reports of bath salt related overdoses and psychotic episodes have inundated the news recently, and many in the health care and public safety industries fear that the worst is yet to come. Despite moves by 28 states to enact emergency legislation to ban the use of these dangerous illicit substances, the federal government has yet to take serious action. However, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are preparing to introduce legislation to provide stiff penalties for the use, possession or distribution of bath salts. But until such legislation passes, these substances are widely available at convenience stores, truck stops and on the internet. In order to mitigate this problem we must first understand its full scope.
Bath salts are difficult to regulate because they were never intended for human consumption. Similarly, it is difficult to regulate other common products that people abuse, such as Glade, furniture polish, gasoline, cough medications and so on.
Bath salts contain substances that are similar in chemical structure to methamphetamine while producing effects that mimic those of cocaine. Bath salts generally contain Mephedrone – a substance that was originally discovered in the late 1920’s, but was obscure to the point of nonexistence until recently. Today Mephedrone is illegal in a number of countries including the U.S.
However, the problem is that manufacturers of “bath salt” substances continually change the chemical composition in the same way that makers of Spice and K2 – synthetic versions of marijuana – did to avoid criminal persecution. But with the severe increase in the use of these substances it’s likely that more severe control, eradication and persecution efforts will be put into place by governments worldwide.
According to a July 2011 article in The Crime Report;
“Poison control centers got 3,470 calls about bath salts from January through June, says the American Association of Poison Control Centers, up from 303 in all of 2010.” (1)
This is a serious cause for concern considering reports from every corner of the globe detailing the dangerous and often psychotic effects of the drugs. While there have been no credible studies conducted and published on the effects of bath salts, reports from health care workers, law enforcement officials and drug abusers themselves are often disturbing. In an article in the Sun Journal, Lt. Thomas J. Reagan – a policeman in Bangor, Maine, was reported to have provided chilling details at a conference on bath salts:
“”The second stage is paranoid delusional. Users no longer feel safe and begin doing things that typically get police involved. Then comes the critical or toxic stage — excited delirium, which he described as “walking overdose.” He showed a video of police trying to safeguard a man in this stage who fought against several of them for five minutes before dying.” (2)
These severe consequences are all the more disturbing considering that the most common “minor” symptoms and side effects of bath salt use are still quite severe when compared to other types of drugs:
“Law enforcement agencies and poison control centers say the effects of bath salts include hallucinations, paranoia, rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure. Seizures and kidney dysfunction have also been seen.” (3)
Fortunately, treatment for addiction to drugs like bath salts is available right now. If you or someone you love is fighting to break free from this potentially deadly drug, please pick up the phone and call the number at the top of your screen. We are a group of addiction experts dedicated to helping you put your Recovery First, and we’re here 24 hours per day to provide you with a free, confidential consultation if you need help. Don’t hesitate a moment longer – reach out now and start your new life today.
(1) The Crime Report “Bath Salt” Abuse Increasing, 28 States Have Banned Them Saturday, July 16, 2011
(2) Karkos, Terry Bath salts conference in Rumford exposes prolonged effects Wednesday, Nov 2, 2011 The Lewiston Sun-Journal
(3) Kim, Ann S. Bath salt abuse: growing problem for Maine police The Portland Press Herald May 08, 2011