What Are Bath Salts?
Bath salts- not to be confused with typical bathing salts, like epsom salt, used for relaxation and soaking- are synthetic drugs popularized in South Florida and other states among the nation. The substance is related to cathinone. Bath salts are stimulant drugs, and mirror similar effects to those as amphetamines, which are also stimulant drugs. The substance is derived from the khat plant, which is native to Asia, and is structurally similar to cathinone (found in methamphetamine).
Because bath salts are synthesized, their chemical compositions are typically unstable, and may vary widely from batch to batch. The variance in their composition and synthesis makes it difficult to measure how much of certain elements found in the addictive substance- putting users who consume the product at risk for increased chances of overdose, or adverse side effects, which may incur permanent physical and psychological damage.
Bath salts were recently available in some convenience stores along with other synthetic drugs, like K2 and flakka, but enforcing drug regulations have made it illegal to do so. Bath salts are typically taken orally, snorted, or injected intravenously.
Understanding Bath salt Addiction
Frequent users of bath salts begin to develop a tolerance to the substance, akin to any other addictive drug. The more one uses bath salts, the more likely subsequent physical and psychological addictions will cement as a result of continued abuse. Because bath salts affect the way in which dopamine is distributed throughout the brain, the euphoric effect of taking the drug supersedes any inkling to moderate use.
When users consume bath salts, their brains release a surge of dopamine, which is responsible for making us feel fulfilled, rewarded, and happy. Eventually with continued use, one’s natural ability to produce dopamine is compromised, and they no longer to feel rewarded, or happy in circumstances those with normally functioning dopamine neurotransmitters do. When this permanent brain damage happens, those addicted to bath salts chase the high to feel normal. Taking bath salts is no longer an endeavor of pleasure, but a necessary excursion to be able to function normally.
Dangers of Bath salts
Continued use and abuse of bath salts causes permanent damage to the brain’s neurotransmitters, and compromises its ability to produce dopamine.
Fun Fact: Bath salts are ten times more potent than cocaine.
In addition to destroying dopamine neurotransmitters, bath salts also have adverse effects on healthy serotonin levels, which are responsible for helping us to manage our moods productively. Similarly to the gradual destruction of dopamine receptors, serotonin neurotransmitters are damaged in the same manner.
Akin to hallucinogens, bath salts cause its users to hallucinate, and may put them in mortal danger. Similar to its cousin, flakka, bath salts induce “excited delirium” which is the source of erratic behavior, undue aggressiveness, violence, and hallucinations. Users with untreated bath salt disorders endanger themselves and those around them, because many are under the delusion their hallucinations are trying to hurt them.
Health Effects of Bath Salts Include:
- Racing Heart Beat
- High Blood Pressure
- Chronic Chest Pain
- Panic Attacks
Bath salts and Flakka
Flakka is similar to bath salts, in terms of the way they are synthesized. Because both addictive substances induce states of manic delirium, heart failure, agitation, and violence are common among those who use both substances. Overdose is common because both bath salts and flakka are synthetic, frequently laced with other addictive drugs like fentanyl, and are unregulated by any government agency to guarantee the levels of each addictive substance are safe for human consumption.
In fact, many of the packages available of the drug purchased online are labeled, “Not for Human Consumption.”