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Substance Abuse Counseling: What are Bath Salts?

Substance Abuse Counseling for Bath Salts: A Psychological Time Bomb

Bath Salts‘ are a relatively new drug to hit the market, following in the wake of the ‘plant food’, methadrone.  Despite the name, they have no relation to the salts that you and I use for a relaxing soak; rather the name for another drug that has been manufactured specifically for the purpose of getting high. It has already spread across America, with the rate of spread increasing at an alarming rate. Sold under many names representing particular ‘strains’ the chemicals inside rarely differ to too much of a degree.

A picture of actual bath salts used in actual baths

These are real bath salts and do not have any drug properties at all.

A picture of white powder on a black background

Bath salts are actually synthetic cocaine. "Bath Salts" is just a street name.

The active chemicals, the parts that have an actual effect are pryovalerone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone and mephedrone. All of which are stimulants designed so that your heart beats faster and you have much more energy. The effects of bath salts could even be described as being LSD like in the hallucinations and visions that they invoke. While they are similar in effect to drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine or speed, there is a large distinction between them. Bath Salts do not offer the same euphoria as these drugs and typically will mean that the user will experience confusing and frightening times.

As they have hit the market and managed to circumvent the anti-drugs legislation, they are quickly becoming a very popular drug amongst young people. The fact that it is legal means that it is sold by head shops and on the internet in large quantities.  One of the few ‘advantages’(the term used loosely) of the legality of bath salts is that purveyors will have no reason to pollute the drug with cheaper components, as they will already be available cheaply. It is shipped from the east: India, China and Asia, then packaged into whichever garb it is being sold under. The packages do contain a warning about not being suitable for human consumption. But the rest of the packaging makes it obvious to any reader exactly what the product is for.

The major problem with bath salts, as with all of the new designer drugs that hit the market is that since they are so new there is next to no information on the long term effects of abuse. Even a relatively well policed drug like thalidomide managed to make it to the market and be well used before the terrible effects were realized. These legal highs are already pushing the boundaries of toxic chemicals, the potential unknown long term effects could be devastating. Whilst even knowing the difference between a normal and a fatal dose is guesswork.

What is already known about the side effects of the drugs is extremely bad news. Users have displayed symptoms of stimulant overdose and brain damage. Delusions and paranoid hallucinations can be very common. With studies showing  that up to 50% of users are likely to develop a form of schizophrenia.

There are already a great many cases where people high on bath salts have had psychotic breaks and been driven to commit quite violent and disturbing acts.

The news story that has been at the forefront of peoples’ minds lately is of the man, Randy Eugene  who ran naked through the streets until he found a homeless pensioner, who he brutally attacked and tried to eat the face of.  He actually took bites out of another man’s face. Apparently bath salts were already illegal in Miami Florida where the attack took place. But this incident and many others like it are causing a stir amongst the authorities. There are already plans in place to ban the active components of the drug.

It is clear from the sheer numbers of people being admitted to hospitals and poison control centers that this drug is already out of control. Topped off with the amount of violent and bizarre crimes being committed  by the users. There are many tales of people becoming scared of the paranoid hallucinations that are afflicting them and trying to escape. In most cases this means putting other people at serious risk. This means for most cases that the users who are already delusional and a huge risk to their own and public safety are then extremely likely to direct their anger towards the very people who are trying to diffuse the situation.

What is clear is that anyone using such a drug is putting their physical and mental health under a massive strain. No good can come of this and if we do not act to curb the drug soon as schizophrenia and madness could reach epidemic proportion.

A zombie girl reaching out of a bath tub

In conclusion: Bath Salts have nothing to do with baths or zombies.

Are you interested in becoming an Abuse Counselor? If so please check out the link provided.

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