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"Bath salts" –confusion, reality and danger

April 15, 2014 2:32 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Former bath-salts addict: ‘It felt so evil’ – CNN.com

Part 2: Substituted cathinones – AKA “Bath Salts”, “Bloom” or phone screen cleaner/plant food

This is a two-part series about designer drugs. See part 1 here.

Synthetic or “designer” drugs, including synthetic marijuana and the group of substances that include “bath salts”, continue to cause problems locally and in the nation.

There is much confusion about the two different “strains” of synthetic drugs that are on the scene. Both are powerful and can be dangerous. In this part, we’ll discuss drugs such as “bath salts”.

Part 2: Substituted cathinones – AKA “Bath Salts”, “Bloom” or phone screen cleaner/plant food

“Bath Salts” refers to a number of designer drugs often containing substituted cathinones (such as MDPV, or methylenedioxypyrovalerone), which have effects similar to amphetamine and cocaine. The name derives from instances in which the drugs were being sold under the guise of being bath salts. The substance can also be packaged as phone screen cleaner, plant food, or other seemingly-legal or safe material; the packaging is often labeled “not for human consumption” to further mislead law enforcement.

“Bath Salts” is a term increasingly used for other, somewhat similar drugs as well, such as methylone (which is more similar to MDMA or ecstasy) and mephedrone.

As with all illicit drugs, there is a danger inherent in its use at all — since these products are packaged without dosage nor information about chemical specifics, poisoning or overdose can occur, particularly for those who inject the drugs.

Bath salts use raises brain dopamine in the same manner as cocaine but is at least 10 times more potent. Use of bath salts can effect dopamine levels and production in humans, which can lead to long-term problems. There’s a wide range of symptoms users can experience including heart palpitations, nausea, hallucinations, paranoia, suicidal thinking/behavior, and breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue. What’s more, there has been a wide variety of extremely violent incidents linked in the media to the use of bath salts drugs over the past few year.

Law enforcement agencies are struggling to “catch up” with the bath salts drugs and their problems. Local and federal legislation continues to refine written laws about the chemical compounds that make up synthetic drugs, so that manufacturers can still be prosecuted even if they change the chemicals slightly. Locally, a methylone manufacturer and dealer was prosecuted earlier this year.

Scientists are struggling to catch up with bath salts, as well. One of the first studies of the bath salt drug MDPV was released last year, which stated that it could be more addictive than methamphetamine, which is already one of the most addictive substances in existence. Currently, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University are studying the effects of bath salts drugs on the brain.

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