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Bath Salts Abuse and Addiction

Bath Salts Abuse and Addiction

Bath Salts are the Synthetic Cathinones used as a recreational drug. Effects of bath salts are similar to the amphetamines or cocaine, depending upon the doses of the drug taken. The Bath Salts are sometimes also referred as the ‘fake cocaine’ or ‘complete crank’. They are known for their psychoactive effects and high stimulating properties which develop a state of ecstasy. The effects of the drug are reported to last from three to four hours or six to eight hours depending on the consumed amount of drug. An urge of re-dosing has been frequently experienced by the users of Bath Salts. The chemical composition of Bath Salts is similar to the chemical Cathinone found in the Catha Edulis (Khat Plant). Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, mephedrone, N-methylcathinone, and 4-fluoromethcathinone are some of the Synthetic Cathinones. The biggest risks associated with the use of Bath Salts include the CVA accidents, stroke, hallucinations, delusions, coma, erratic behaviors and many death cases have also been reported. The routes of administration of Bath Salts include:

  • Ingesting the drug.
  • Snorting the drug, which is the commonest route used by the addicts.
  • Smoking the drug.
  • Injecting the drug which can be potentially lethal.

What are Bath Salts?

The Bath Salts, also known as the psychoactive bath salts, is the name given to the designer drugs. They are called Bath Salts because the composition resembles with the true bath salts like the Epsom salts. They are in the form of white powder, crystals or granules. The Bath Salts contain a chemical called Cathinone, which is mostly the methylenedioxypyrovalerone, mephedrone, and methylone. They are sold in the form of small plastic packets or foiled packages. To make the sale process of this drug easier, it is also labeled by the common names as the plant food, phone screen cleaners, and the jewelry cleaners. The chemical composition may slightly differ with the various Bath Salts. There are a number of street names given to Bath Salts including:

  • Bloom
  • Cosmic Blast
  • Cloud Nine
  • Flakka
  • Lunar waves
  • Ivory Waves
  • Vanilla Sky
  • Scarface
  • White lightening

The Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act in 2012 declared the possession, use or distribution of bath salts as illegal. The chemicals used in the composition of bath salts have been categorized as schedule 1 drugs. This means that these chemicals have no medicinal content but are having high potentials for abuse.

How do Bath Salts Work?

There isn’t a great deal of research data available regarding the exact mechanism of action and metabolism of Bath Salts. The scientists believe that the effects of bath salts are similar to amphetamines. They cause a powerful stimulating effect by increasing certain chemicals like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the brain. Generally, the bath salts are less capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier because of the presence of the beta-keto group, which increases the polarity. The Cathinones in the Bath Salts can produce various effects on the brain and body of an individual. The effects produced by the drug include:

  • Euphoria
  • Alertness
  • Anxiety
  • Tachycardia
  • Agitation
  • Dilated pupils
  • High blood pressure
  • An increase in body temperature
  • Insomnia
  • Aggression

The Serious Side -Effects:

The Bath Salts can cause severe intoxication among the users. Some of the serious side-effects that can be produced after taking a larger dose or using for the prolonged durations include:

  • Psychotic Delusions
  • Hallucinations.
  • Seizures.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Kidney Failure
  • Liver Failure
  • Coma

Is it possible to overdose or die from using Bath Salts?

Bath Salts are one of the most toxic drugs. Several incidents have been reported in which the users died. The intoxication potential of the drug is very high. The highly addictive properties of Bath Salts makes the person take the larger doses of the drug, which can also cause an immediate death due to the initiation of a vicious cycle leading to the failure of body organs.

Are Bath Salts addictive?

The numerous researchers have proven the highly addictive nature of Bath Salts. The intense urge to use the drug over again has been reported among the users of Bath salts. The frequent use leads to the development of tolerance, dependence, and the emergence of strong withdrawal symptoms if the drug isn’t taken on time. The withdrawal symptoms produced by this drug include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Common Bath Salts Drug Interactions:

The Bath Salts are most commonly consumed with Alcohol. In 2015, a study was conducted to establish the relationship between alcohol and mephedrone, keeping in view their rewarding and the psychostimulant effects. The results showed that the lower or non-stimulant doses of alcohol can even significantly enhance psychostimulant effects of the mephedrone. The effect is produced due to an enormous increase in the level of synaptic dopamine. Dopamine then produces its various effects of motivation, reward, and euphoria.

American statistics on Bath Salts Abuse:

The Abuse of Bath Salts is a growing problem in the United States.

  • According to the report of ‘Substance Abuse and the Mental Health Services Administration’, there were more than 22,000 visits to the Emergency Rooms due to the abuse of Synthetic Cathinones. The data was reported in 2011.
  • American Poison Control Centers reported 3,500 Cathinones related phone calls in 2011.
  • The highest percentage of cases of Bath salts abuse was found between the ages of 18-25 years.
  • The 0.5 % of the students in 8th grade and the 0.9% of the 10th and 12th-grade students reported the use of Bath Salts.
  • A 2010 survey report showed that 20 % of high school students admitted the use of Bath Salts at least one time, whereas 4 % reported the daily use of Bath Salts.