What Are Bath Salts?

Bath salts are a classification of substances typically taking the form of powder, crystals or granules that resemble true bath salts, such as Epsom salts, or additional bath-related items. These drugs are often sold in containers that are marked “not for human consumption” in an effort to thwart law enforcement while giving vendors plausible deniability about the way in which they are used. While actual bath salts are sold at major retailers, the type of bath salts we’ll talk about today are dangerous synthetic substances that produce any number of mind-altering effects depending on the ingredients used and the synthesization process.

Bath salt pharmacology is wide-ranging and the chemical compounds used are changed regularly to stay a step ahead of law enforcement. While federal, state and local law enforcement groups are well aware of bath salts, they can’t ban the ingredients contained within them fast enough to keep a newer, and often more potent active ingredient from taking its place. In short, the people producing the drugs are constantly experimenting with new substances in order to remain on the right side of the law while law enforcement continues to test and ban new compound contained within bath salts.

Negative Effects of Use

Bath salts can be snorted, injected, smoked or swallowed. Injection is the most dangerous form of ingesting the drug, as these products rarely contain a list of ingredients or dosages. Remember, these bags are marked “not for human consumption” which allows producers the ability to forego a list of ingredients, either active or otherwise.

Ingestion causes different reactions in users based on the compounds used to synthesize the drug, as well as metabolic rates.

Overall, they are thought to be similar in effect to other stimulants, such as methamphetamine in the way they work. Bath salts work by increasing the levels of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine which leaves users with a state of increased awareness and energy, euphoria, and overall feeling of well-being. Some doses even cause hallucinogenic effects such as those created by LSD and peyote.

Serious Health Risks

Bath salts are a growing problem, and users often experience symptoms ranging from a headache, decreased circulation (cold fingers, toes, ears), nausea, and dry mouth. More severe effects include hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety or panic attacks, shortness of breath, and decreased inhibitions.

Using bath salts in high amounts or for long periods of time have been associated with continued violent or aggressive behavior, kidney failure, liver damage (or failure), heart attack, stroke, self-harm and an overall decrease in bone and muscle density due to tissue loss.

Stats for bath salt abuse are hard to find, as bath salts encompass a wide variety of substances. While the exact number of users are unknown, there have been some downright terrifying instances of bath salt users behavior caught on camera.

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Mike McInnes                   Zach Lindley