No, they aren’t the same bath salts used in a bathtub, but they have been called that to allow them to be sold legally. Plant Food, Ivory Wave, White Lightning Hurricane Charlie are some of the other names. They are sold in some smoke shops and mini-marts, and are† a stimulant similar to cathinone compounds found in the Khat plant from eastern Africa. Some reports say bath salts are manufactured in China. With all the health issues associated with food in China lately, one wonders about the quality control of such a dubious product as bath salts. They may also be entering the U.S. from Europe.
The effects are supposedly similar to cocaine, amphetamines or MDMA† (ecstasy). “Agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, suicidality. Itís a very scary stimulant that is out there. We get high blood pressure and increased pulse, but thereís something more, something different thatís causing these other extreme effects”, said a physician who has observed some of the patients. (Source: WebMd)
The paranoia and psychosis have been observed to last two weeks, and other mental health issues due to the drug abuse last even longer. A DEA spokesman said, “Just because something is legal, doesnít make it safe. “Why would anyone want to play Russian roulette with stuff like that? You have no idea what is going into your body, nor do you know the chemicals or the lab environment in which they were synthesized.” (Source: nj.com)
In 2009 the drug started appearing at music festivals and head shops in the United Kingdom. In the United States people have been showing up in emergency rooms in a very bad state. They sometimes are in a psychotic state and stay that way for a long time. Sedatives can be used to bring them out of it, but are not always successful. Because this type of drug abuse is relatively new, there isn’t yet an established method of medical care. There have been about 1,100 cases in the United States since January. Bath salts can be snorted, injected or smoked. Is anyone who purchases them unaware of what they really are and using them in their bathtubs? If they can be snorted, are the stimulants released into the air from the steam of a hot bath? If such an event did occur, it could be very upsetting to an unsuspecting person.
Image Credit: David Shankbone