Emergency rooms are seeing a growing number of people high on “bath salts,” new stimulant drugs that can cause long-lasting and dangerous effects. The New York Times reports that doctors are trying to determine the best way to treat people high on these synthetic drugs.
Bath salts have grown increasingly popular in the last year. The drugs come in powder and crystal form, and are snorted, injected or smoked. The American Association of Poison Control Centers says poison control centers received 3,470 calls about bath salts during the first six months of this year, a jump from 303 calls in all of 2010.
The article notes that at least 28 states have banned bath salts, which are sold in convenience stores and head shops for $25 to $50 for each 50-milligram packet. They can also be bought online. Bath salts are sold under names including Ivory Wave, Vanilla Sky and Loco-Motion.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is considering whether to classify two chemicals in bath salts, MDPV and mephedrone, as Schedule I drugs, alongside Ecstasy and heroin, according to the newspaper. New York’s Senator Chuck Schumer introduced federal legislation that would classify bath salts as Schedule I drugs, but the bill remains in committee. Chemists can get around state bans by changing just one molecule to make the formulation legal.
Bath salts can cause extreme paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, rapid heart rate, chest pain and suicidal thoughts.
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