Straight, No Chaser: Bath Salts – Seen Any Zombies Lately?
You can have an idea how bad a drug is when it has more street names than is remotely necessary. Today’s Straight, No Chaser is about bath salts, which are another group of those drugs that you probably don’t know anything about unless you are a user. Let’s get this out of the way up front: we’re not having a conversation about things you place in your tub.
Bath salts are concentrated versions of synthetic stimulants and include many different chemical preparations. You know how a baby will seemingly place anything in his/her mouth as she or he tests the world? I wonder if that’s how bad it’s gotten with those who are taking bath salts, as it seems that some who take these are willing to get high on just about anything they can get their hands on. Bath Salts have all types of alternate names, including Bliss, Blue Silk, Cloud Nine, Drone, Energy-1, Ivory Wave, Lunar Wave, Meow Meow, Ocean Burst, Pure Ivory, Purple Wave, Red Dove, Snow Leopard, Stardust, Vanilla Sky, White Dove, White Knight and White Lightning.
The problem with Bath Salts is the composition; they are not made from a single drug or chemical. In fact, the user may not know what mixture they are using. The myriad of names is an attempt to produce some type of “quality control,” lest the effects can be widespread and unpredictable. Overall the effects are meant to be similar to a central nervous system stimulant (similar to methamphetamine, leading to the drug previously being known as “legal cocaine”), but side effects can also produce hallucinations, paranoia and other effects that make the user appear as a zombie. These drugs have a high potential for overdose.
Depending on the form, Bath Salts can be taken as a tablet or capsule, smoked, snorted or placed into a solution and injected into veins. Certain types are marketed as “smokable incense or potpourri.”
Once taken, the speed of onset is 15 minutes, while the length of the high from these drugs is 4-6 hours. Any side effects experienced are not pleasant. They can include the following:
- Agitation and paranoia
- Altered mental status and confusion
- Chest pain
- Combative and violent behavior
- Increased blood pressure (hypertension) and heart rate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
The side effects they cause may be permanent, and long-term effects are largely unknown.
Bath Salt usage seems to be most popular with people who are between 20 and 29 years old, and the craze of “zombieing” is a real concern for all the reasons mentioned. If you discover someone has been using Bath Salts, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222, unless the patient is seizing, has collapsed or has stopped breathing, or is agitated beyond your control In these instances dial 911 immediately.
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