Bath Salts: The New Drug Nightmare


Many of you have probably read about the horrific effects of a new designer street drug known commonly as “bath salts”.

There still exists a great deal of confusion over what constitutes this drug. The following questions will hopefully clarify any questions you may have and serve as a guide to educate you on this extremely dangerous substance.

What are bath salts?

Bath salts is the informal street name for a family of designer drugs. Bath salts are made from chemicals that are known as synthetic stimulants.

Why is the drug called bath salts?

This is the part that often confuses the public. The bath salts drug has chemically nothing to do with the bath salts we place in our bath tub such as Epsom salt. The bath salts drug's white crystals resemble the bath salts we use in bathing but are not the same. The illegal street chemists have marketed the bath salts drug as “bath salts – not for human consumption” under names such as Ivory Wave and Vanilla Sky. By doing this they have been able to avoid the bath salts drug being labeled as illegal.

How is the bath salts drug ingested?

The drug can be swallowed, snorted, smoked, or injected. Swallowing and snorting are the most common means of ingestion. Bath salts drug at doses between 3 and 5 mg elicit an effect on the individual. Packets of the drug normally contain 500 mg so the risk of overdosing is high.

What does the person experience who has taken bath salts?

Severe paranoia which can lead to the person harming themselves or others, hallucinations, agitation, chest pain, high blood pressure, increased pulse, combative/violent behavior, suicide, heart attack, kidney failure, liver failure, an increased tolerance for pain, dilated pupils, and involuntary muscle movement. The speed of onset is 15 minutes. The high from bath salts can last 4-6 hours. Long term effects are unknown.

How are bath salts detected?

Detection dogs cannot smell bath salts. As far as the human body is concerned, the bath salts drug is not detected in the typical urine test. Special instruments can detect the drug in the urine and hair.

What is the prevalence of use in the United States?

Between 2010 and 2011 the use of bath salts increased dramatically according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Most users are between the ages of 20-55 with the average age being 28.

Are bath salts illegal?

As of August 2012, 45 states including Louisiana had banned the sale of bath salts.

FeaturePCGHBath Salts, Health