What Is the Drug, Bath Salts?

Marketed under various names, including, “Bath Salts”, “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” Vanilla Sky,” and “Bliss”, the drug, MDPV has been the cause of numerous emergency room visits and thousands of calls to the Centers for Disease Control and Poison Control Centers over the last couple of years.

Bath Salts is actually a powerful stimulant that also has hallucinogenic properties. A relatively new psychotropic drug, it reportedly creates effects similar to other stimulants such as wakefulness, rapid heartbeat, reduction in appetite and anxiety.

However, this substance causes other, more worrisome and dangerous effects such as psychotic delusions, thoughts of suicide and violent behavior.

Are they really for the bath tub?

No, they’re not. They are labelled that way to avoid legal restrictions. Each packet is even clearly marked with, “Not For Human Consumption”, making it difficult to classify them as drugs. But the real purpose is definitely substance abuse. These packets contain various drugs, including the compound 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) or 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone). A dangerous designer drug, MDPV is popular with teens and some in the military because it doesn’t show on drug tests.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control, between November 2010 and April 2011 in one county in Michigan, 35 persons who had ingested, inhaled, or injected “bath salts” visited a Michigan emergency department. Among the 35 patients, the most comĀ­mon signs and symptoms of toxicity were agitation (23 patients [66%]), tachycardia (22 [63%]), and delusions/hallucinations (14 [40%]). Seventeen patients were hospitalized, and one was dead upon arrival at the ED.

So how can a product as apparently dangerous as this be sold legally to the public?

Any product sold in the United States that is classified as a drug must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The product is then classified according to criteria such as likelihood of abuse, it’s addictive potentials or any possible medicinal value. Then it can be sorted into one of several categories.

When a substance does not pass review along these guidelines, they are classified in the Schedule One category. These substances are not legal for any purpose.

But what if it’s NOT a drug? What if it is only an additive for the bath tub? Now special legislation is needed to outlaw it. This is the case with several of these new substances of abuse, bath salts is only one. Another is called “Spice”. Also known as K-2, spice is a drug that is labelled as incense in order to bypass legal requirements of a drug.

Many states have passed emergency legislation to outlaw these specific chemicals, but the makers just alter the compounds slightly, just enough to again slip through the legal nets.

Our best bet in the fight against these tactics is simply this, make the public aware of the dangers and very real consequences of using these chemicals. If enough truth about bath salts and spice or whatever comes next is pumped into the environment, repeatedly, we’ll see this latest and nearly craziest drug fad fade away and become a joke like “smoking banana peels” became back in the ’60s..