Bath Salts Abuse And The Violent Paranoia Caused By The Newest Drug Fad Flying Off The Shelves
Bath Salts are the newest over-the-counter drug fad for young people in America. Despite being connected to violence and extreme paranoia, the over-the-counter drug is flying off the shelves. The synthetic powder is sold legally online and in drug paraphernalia stores under a variety of names, such as “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Blue Silk,” “Zoom,” “Ocean Snow,” “Lunar Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” “White Lightning,” and “Hurricane Charlie.” The clinical staff at ONE80CENTER is never surprised when young people discover new and more dangerous waves to escape through abuse and addiction. The craze over bath salts and what we know about their effects are, however, downright disturbing.
Since these products are relatively new, knowledge about their precise chemical composition and short- and long-term effects is limited to say the least. The available information, demands proactive action in order to minimize the obvious dangers to not just the abusers of bath salts. In addition, the general public needs to be protected from people under the influence of this dangerous substance that produces an amphetamine-like effect.
Although states across the country have passed laws banning their sale, bath salts are still easily available online. The fact that bath salts are distributed via mail and sold on the Internet helps explain why more rural places such as Maine and Louisiana were at the cutting edge of the epidemic. As opposed to urban centers where drug dealers are plentiful, drug abusers and addicts in rural areas will take whatever substance they can readily obtain.
What we do know is that these products often contain various amphetamine-like chemicals, such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPDV), mephedrone and pyrovalerone. Bath salts are typically administered orally, by inhalation, or by injection, with the worst outcomes apparently associated with snorting or intravenous administration. Mephedrone is of particular concern because it presents a high risk for overdose. These chemicals act in the brain like stimulant drugs and are often touted as cocaine substitutes. As a result, they present a high risk for both abuse and addiction. Repetitive use of bath salts has been reported to trigger intense cravings not unlike those experienced by methamphetamine users.
Beyond their known psychoactive ingredients, the contents of bath salts are largely unknown, which makes the practice of abusing them even more dangerous. Bath salts already have already been linked to an alarming number of ER visits across the country in the past few years. Doctors and clinicians at U.S. poison centers have indicated that ingesting or snorting bath salts containing synthetic stimulants can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and delusions.
What are even more frightening have been the extreme instances of violence associated with the consumption of bath salts. Here are three potent examples:
1) A 21-year-old Louisiana man cut his own throat, then shot and killed himself after being treated by doctors for bath salts overdose.
2) A Maine man got off his motorcycle in the middle of a highway and started trying to hit passing cars with a piece of wood.
3) A Maine woman thought her teeth were filled with ticks and tried to cut them out with a knife.
Although all three are awful, they pale in comparison to the national bath salts news story that recently occurred in Florida. Miami police official believe that bath salts were behind the bizarre May 26 incident in which 31-year-old Rudy Eugene allegedly tore off the clothes of a homeless man under a highway and ate parts of his face. Know in the tabloids as the Miami Cannibal, this extreme Cannibalism angle grabbed the attention of the national media.
Although toxicology reports have yet to be released, bath salts have been pointed to as the trigger for the extreme behavior. The attacker had to be shot at least five times by police as they tried to stop the assault, according to The Miami Herald. Eugene had a history of abusing drugs, including bath salts. Since bath salts have been known to spark hallucinatory, paranoid rages, it fall into the place that these cheap, potent, innocent looking, and, until recently, legal and undetectable, synthetic drugs were the spark that lit such an insane fire in Rudy Eugene.
With echoes of earlier drug epidemics like crack cocaine in the 1980s and crystal meth recently, the bath salts scare is both shocking and routine. “We had people telling us: ‘This is the worst thing I ever did, but the cravings were so intense that I used it for eight days straight,’ ” says Louisiana Poison Center Director Mark Ryan, who in 2010 was one of the first doctors to document the surge in cases.
ONE80CENTER backs the idea of raising the national alarm with young people in relation to the dangers of bath salts. From our extensive experience with drug abuse, we know that the problem with bath salts has only just begun. In fact, all of the negative press not only will not deter young people. Instead, it will encourage them to experiment, leading to an even greater risk for accidental overdose and violent incidents.