Last Saturday, Miami Police shot Rudy Eugene for gruesomely chewing on another man’s face. President of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, Armando Aguilar,believes the attack may be linked to the use of bath salts, a synthetic, semi-legal drug.
Bath salts are the latest in a line of “legal” synthetic drugs to hit the market. Bath salts are marketed and sold under the guise of bath additives, which is why they are legal in many states. Law enforcement officials are alarmed at the effects of these drugs, which have been known to cause paranoia and intense hallucinations. Emergency room personnel report that patients who have ingested bath salts are so highly agitated and violent that they sometimes require a whole medical team to restrain them. Sometimes even powerful sedatives are not sufficient in calming these people down. Bath started turning up regularly in the United States last year and have proliferated in recent months, alarming doctors, who say they have unusually dangerous and long-lasting effects.
Bath salts are sold legally online and in drug paraphernalia stores under a variety of names, such as “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Red Dove,” “Blue Silk,” “Zoom,” “Bloom,” “Cloud Nine,” “Ocean Snow,” “Lunar Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” “White Lightning,” “Scarface,” and “Hurricane Charlie.” Because formulations of bath salts change so often in an attempt to keep ahead of laws prohibiting their manufacture, very little is known about the chemical makeup of the drug. What we do know is that bath salts contain synthetic stimulant drugs of the amphetamine and cathinone classes, such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPDV), mephedrone and pyrovalerone. Many bath salt users compare their effects to methamphetamine. These drugs are typically administered orally, by insufflation, by inhalation, or by injection, with the worst outcomes apparently associated with snorting or intravenous administration.
Drugs like bath salts and the synthetic cannabis known as “spice” are specifically manufactured to circumvent the laws that regulate legal drugs. Lawmakers are having a hard time regulating bath salts, because manufacturers can slightly tweak the formulation by the time the laws have passed. Some states are now cracking down on the chemicals used to make bath salts, rather than the product itself. At least four states are considering legislation to give the state pharmacy board the authority to ban the sale of the chemicals used to make bath salts.
Experts say much of the US’s bath salt supply is coming from China and India, where chemical manufacturers have less government oversight. Bath salts are labeled “not for human consumption,” which helps them avoid the federal Analog Act, under which any substance “substantially similar” to a banned drug is deemed illegal if it is intended for consumption.
Because bath salts are relatively new to the drug scene, little is known about their long-term effects. Poison control center calls regarding bath salts have increased 10 fold in the last year. The drug has some properties of methamphetamine and cocaine use. In some cases, the use of bath salts has been shown to cause complete psychosis. Medical professionals report dangerously elevated blood pressure and heart rates and people so agitated that their muscles started to break down, releasing chemicals that led to kidney failure. Bath salts have also been known to trigger intense cravings, and have a high potential for abuse and addiction.
If you or someone you know needs treatment for bath salt addiction please give our crisis counselors a call at 877-711-4673. Our crisis counselors are there to answer your call 24/7!