Why Are Young People Across America Suddenly Into “Bath Salts”?

It’s not that teens and young adults are suddenly soaking in mineral salts, it’s that there is a new synthetic drug on the market that is fraudulently marketed as “bath salts.”

It’s all about the money. It starts with a chemist who’s willing to harm others just to make money. He finds a chemical that’s not yet illicit but that will make people high if they consume it. He then needs business person to package, label and distribute that substance in a way that won’t get them arrested. As long as they aren’t concerned about who gets hurt or dies, they are in business.

And thus you have what the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says has been marketed in Europe, the UK and the US as “bath salts.” The product could be labeled Ivory Wave, Bliss, Vanilla Sky or White Dove. The packaging clearly states that the product is not for human consumption. But as long as the sales clerk has no reason to think you are law enforcement, he or she may give you instructions on the best way to consume it: snort it, smoke it or inject it.

Structurally, bath salts are similar to MDMA, also known as Ecstasy, sold at dance clubs and all-night rave parties. Those taking bath salts may be subject to hallucinations, paranoia and violence. According to a report from the New York Times, users being brought to emergency rooms may be so agitated that they have to be forcibly held down and do not even respond to strong sedatives. Anti-psychotic medications or general anesthesia must be used to quiet them.

“Certain unscrupulous chemists and drug dealers will never stop trying to make money off illicit drugs and escape any negative consequences while doing so,” stated Derry Hallmark, director of admissions at Narconon Arrowhead. Located in Canadian, Oklahoma, Narconon rehabilitates those who have become trapped in addiction. “It may not be possible to know what drugs will be addictive or deadly before one indulges. The only safety really lies in living a sober, drug-free life.”

Narconon drug educators travel across Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Northern Texas to educate young people on the problems created by substance abuse. In the last few years, hundreds of thousands of Midwest children have been reached with the message that drugs are dangerous.

When it Comes to Bath Salts, Legislation Lags Behind Need

There are several chemicals that are marketed as bath salts, making it difficult to enact legislation against the substance. Twenty-eight states have passed some kind of ban on one or more of the chemicals but in September, 2011, the DEA used its authority to pass a temporary ban on all the chemicals typically found in bath salts. It immediately became easier to arrest those manufacturing and distributing the drug.

This was not soon enough to save three people, including one five-year-old boy, in Washington State from the deadly effects of the drug, as reported on The Olympian news website. In Spanaway, Washington in April, 2011, an Army Sergeant killed himself and his wife after he wrecked his car at the end of a police chase. Police later found that their son had previously been killed at the family’s home. Washington State legislators moved quickly to outlaw the substance.

“Because not every young person is reached with effective drug education lessons, it’s very important that parents talk to their children about drugs and include any other substances offered for consumption that might be given a deceptive name,” Mr. Hallmark concluded. “In Texas, many young people were offered ‘cheese’ that was just heroin mixed with other drugs. These youth never knew they were using heroin until they became addicted. Parents can help their children stay safe by being upfront and honest about the dangers of drug use and the kinds of people willing to manufacture and sell these products to unsuspecting young people.”

This post was written by Matt Hawk. Matt is dedicated to helping people understand the dangers of drugs, and helping those who have faced those dangers get into recovery. Matt writes for the Narconon Rehab network.

Image: Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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