Bath Salts and Your Teenager

“Bath Salts” is a common street name used for a new class of synthetic drugs. They have no relation to the scented products that are used in a bathtub. Other street names that have been used are “Vanilla Sky,” “White Snow,” and “Purple Wave.” These drugs are extremely dangerous because of their users’ extreme reactions to the drugs and their unknown long-term effects.

Until recently these drugs were legally sold using one of several loop-holes, such as labeling the product “Not for Human Consumption” and selling them as plant food or jewelry cleaner. Plus these drugs were not well known and not specifically outlawed. Many teenagers feel/felt these drugs are/were safe because it were sold legally. Most states have outlawed this class of drugs but it is still being sold underground.

Teenagers are using these drugs because these are perceived to be safer than other well known stimulants such as amphetamines and cocaine. “Bath salts” are stimulants and they make users feel more alert and increase energy levels, partly by increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain. These “bath salts” can be snorted, smoked, or mixed with water and injected into a vein. Usually the effects of “bath salts” last 4 to 6 hours.

Why are “Bath Salts” so Dangerous?

First, a user never knows exactly what he or she is putting into their body. Usually bath salts contain the chemicals methylone, mephedrone, and/or 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). However, chemical tests and law enforcement estimates suggest there may be more than 100 different chemicals used in the production of “bath salts.” So the user never knows which chemical or chemicals are entering his or her body.

Second, “bath salts” cause extreme agitation and users’ reactions can be highly unpredictable. One doctor has described it as taking a combination of cocaine, meth, and LSD at the same time. It can be potentially life threatening and numerous deaths have been attributed to “bath salts.”

Any of the following “Bath Salts” side-effects can cause Death

  • severe agitation
  • paranoia
  • hallucinations
  • combative behavior
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • elevated heart rate
  • elevated blood pressure
  • increased body temperature
  • chest pain
  • dizziness
  • suicidal behavior

Third, “bath salts” can be addictive and can cause permanent changes in the brain. Too little is known about these drugs but chronic users are at high risk.

Fourth, this is a very dangerous drug and most hospital ERs and laboratories are not equipped to detect synthetic drugs such as “bath salts.” If a patient arrives at an emergency room and denies using the drugs or is unconscious then there is only so much the ER doctor can do.

Parents, if you notice unusual signs of agitation, paranoia, combative behavior, or any of the side-effects mentioned above, call 911 or take him / her to an emergency room immediately.

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