Bath salts have raised quite a few eyebrows over the past few years among individuals and government entities alike. In fact, in response to growing concern over the increasingly-popular synthetic drug, “the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made illegal the possession and sale of three of the chemicals commonly used to make bath salts — the synthetic stimulants mephedrone, MDPV, and methylone.” Said ban, which was enacted in October 2011, allowed for the DEA to take the time to assess whether or not a permanent bath salt ban was warranted, resulting in President Barack Obama’s signing of a bill amending U.S. drug policy and thus effectively banning bath salts on a federal level in July 2012.

Indeed, the heads turned by bath salts and other such synthetic drugs have led to a growing consensus within the drug and alcohol addiction center community as to the danger they pose in promoting addiction and its destructive effects, but the hazards inherent in bath salt usage have done little to curb interest in and abuse of the synthetic drug. Poison control centers are reporting elevated numbers of individuals presenting with bath salt poisoning, and a recent spate of violent and bizarre attacks are being connected to the more hallucinogenic effects associated with bath salts. But what are bath salts exactly? And why are they so dangerous?

Dissecting the Bath Salt Synthetic Drug Trend

Chemically, bath salts differ from varietal to varietal. It is believed that most bath salts are comprised of MDPV, or methylenedioxypyrovalerone, though the active ingredient can range from methylone to mephedrone. What these chemicals have in common is that each is a type of cathinone, which is chemically similar to such stimulants as ephedrine and amphetamine. Cathinones trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, which accounts for some of the “feel-good” properties reported by users.

That said, despite the flood of dopamine into your system, the actual experience induced by bath salts is anything but pleasurable.

The stimulant properties of the cathinones that make up bath salts are responsible for various side-effects. Paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, high blood pressure, and psychosis have all been linked to bath salt abuse. Of particular concern, however, are the high instances of suicide associated with bath salt use even after the effects of the synthetic drug have subsided.

Treatment for Bath Salt Abuse in South Florida

Bath salts, like their name suggests, greatly resemble the bath salts you may drop in a warm bathtub and were even marketed for a time as such to avoid being labeled illegal. Capable of being swallowed, snorted, smoked, or injected, they offer users varying highs and expose them to varying risks of overdose. The reality, however, is that no matter the course of delivery, bath salts are extremely dangerous, and their use should be impeded. If you or a loved one is abusing bath salts, don’t delay in getting help from addiction treatment professionals to avoid the potentially disastrous effects hastened by bath salt use.