Synthetic cathinones, popularly known as Bath Salts, are artificial stimulants extracted from the khat plant. Cathinone generates mild stimulating effects in its original form, whereas the synthetic form results in life-threatening health issues.
Bath Salts Fast facts:
Scientific Name: Mephedrone, Methylone and 3,4- Methylenedioxypyrovalerone
Common Names: Bloom, Bliss, Vanilla Sky, Lunar Wave, Cloud Nine, White Lightning
How It’s Consumed: Snorting, Swallowing, Smoking, Injecting
Side Effects: Hallucinations, Paranoia, Psychotic Episodes, Tremors, Violent Behavior
Bath Salts are one of the most commonly used illicit drugs globally, with its consumption increasing significantly over the last decade due to widespread availability, sensational social media hype, and detection failure on numerous drug tests.
It has also established a substantial threshold in the drug market as a cheap alternative for other drugs like cocaine and amphetamines.
Bath Salts vary greatly from legal minerals like Epsom salt and cosmetic salts, as the latter two are mixed with the bathwater to release stress and soothe muscles. In contrast, the former is an illegal drug created only for recreational purposes.
The number of poison control center calls in the US that constitute synthetic cathinones has grown a lot in the past decade. When abused, these stimulants can lead to thousands of drug overdose cases, which can prove fatal.
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Can Bath Salts be addictive?
Synthetic cathinones are addictive, causing compulsive drug-seeking behavior with severe health, social, and legal consequences. People continue its usage despite knowing how it wreaks havoc on their physical, emotional, psychological, and financial well- being. As per the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bath Salts develop extreme and uncontrollable urges in humans to reuse the synthetic drug.
What is the appearance of Bath Salts?
Synthetic cathinones have the appearance of brown or white powder; MDPV is an off-white or white fine powder, and the color ranges from white to off-white to partially yellow in mephedrone.
Typically, Bath Salts can be consumed by either sniffing or snorting, but they can be swallowed, smoked, or mixed in a solution and consumed intravenously. The most adverse reactions are caused by snorting or inserting these stimulants.
Can Bath Salts be legally purchased?
In October 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration implored its emergency scheduling authority to ban mephedrone, methylone, and MDPV temporarily.
Not long after, in July 2012, the former two stimulants were permanently categorized under ‘Schedule I substances,’ recognizing that these chemicals have no approved medical use in the USA and a high chance of abuse.
However, manufacturers have always found ways to circumvent law enforcement by often altering the illegal chemical ingredients in Bath Salts and reintroducing them in the market.
Weighing between 200 and 500 milligrams, Bath Salts are mostly sold at convenience stores in small foil or plastic packages. To deceive law enforcement, the labels mention the product as jewelry cleaner or plant food and, therefore, unsuitable for human consumption.
What are the Consequences of Bath Salts Consumption?
Bath Salts can have drastic consequences on people’s health, inducing excitement in the central nervous system. This can affect heart function and blood function, and cause overdose and death.
Effects of bath salts include:
- Panic attacks
- Psychotic episodes
- Suicidal thoughts
The limited research on synthetic cathinones’ effects suggests that these substances induce similar feelings to the ones produced by cocaine, MDMA, and amphetamines. Bath Salts not only trigger a sense of euphoria but also cause extreme irritation and paranoia.
According to the Monitoring Future survey, 8th, 10th and 12th grade students reported the usage of synthetic cathinones in the past year. This data is troubling since it has been found that the effects of these drugs are especially damaging to the teens whose brains are still developing.
American Association of Poison Control Centers found that Bath Salts are most popular among people between 20 and 29 years of age. Children who are younger than six years and the elderly who are above 59 have also been exposed to the drug.
What is the treatment of Bath Salt Abuse?
If a person is overdosing on Bath Salts, they must receive immediate medical treatment to make a full recovery. You must call 911 right away if caught in a similar situation.
A study published in the Pharmacy and Therapeutics journal in 2012 explains that benzodiazepines like lorazepam can be used to cure agitation and seizures triggered by synthetic cathinones. Although antipsychotics help patients with psychotic symptoms, they must be used with caution to eradicate the risk of seizure.
Physical restraints become mandatory when benzos and antipsychotics fail to calm a person under the influence of Bath Salts. Many people with a history of using multiple substances also tend to use Bath Salts.
So, people must seek treatment after recovering from the effects of synthetic cathinones to remove the chances of future substance abuse.
Treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, and motivational enhancement therapy are significant in helping people overcome addiction and substance abuse.
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