Effects of Bathsalts Pt.2

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"Bath Salt Addiction
Addiction treatment centers across the nation are starting to see patients turning up with familiar addictive behaviors related to a new legal drug on the market that is being sold as bath salts. The bath salts are sold by names like Charge, White Knight and Sky Vanilla and all have labels stating they are not intended for human consumption. But it appears they are actually produced for exactly that, human consumption, with the ""bath salts"" description clearly being a sham and a clever, but insidious way to get around substance abuse laws.

The problem is that the laws do not cover many of the new substances showing up in mini-marts and gas stations around the country. Last year, many states scrambled to address a lack of laws on synthetic marijuana that people were smoking to get high. Lawmakers in several states moved quickly to ban the fake pot and now there are even more new variations of harder drugs showing up. The bath salts are sold in $20 packets about the size of a tea bag, which is clearly not enough ""salt"" for a real ""bath"" but evidently contains plenty of the potent, but unrestricted drug mephedrone, which is a stimulant and produces a high similar to cocaine or methamphetamine. Because the packets come with the disclaimer, ""not for human consumption"" they are not subject to regulation even though they can contain a potpourri of dangerous chemicals.

Mephedrone is a derivative substance similar to amphetamines and the side effects are about the same as physicians see with large does of amphetamines, like increased heart rate and blood pressure, not sleeping, not eating and paranoia. Some experts have likened the bath salts to a combination of the worst effects of several different drugs, complete with hallucinogenic-delusional type properties, along with extreme agitation, superhuman strength and combativeness, as well as the hyper-addictive properties of cocaine and methamphetamine. In overdoses, the bath salts can cause extreme psychosis and have already been linked to many emergency hospitalizations as well as several suicides.

The fun doesn't stop in the emergency room either, and normal medical treatment for drug overdoses doesn't seem to work in the case of bath salts. Patients experiencing acute toxic psychosis from a ""normal"" cocaine or methamphetamine overdose will respond to sedatives and gradually clam down after treatment. Bath salt overdoes cases do not seem to respond to normal sedatives like valium, even when administered in high doses. Doctors have been dismayed to learn that when bath salt psychosis patients come off of the sedatives or antipsychotic medications, they simply revert back to the psychotic state and become uncontrollable again. In one case a patient was sedated for 12 days and the psychosis came right back as soon as the sedatives were stopped.

The effects of bath salts could be permanent because no one has ever studied the drug before. The effects of mephedrone have never been tested on humans and even though it bears a basic chemical similarity to some existing drug compounds, small changes in chemical composition can produce extremely different side effects. However, the worst and most frightening aspect of bath salts may be their extreme addictive property. Despite the fact that the drug experience itself can be so hideously unpleasant, the drug creates such intense cravings that users often go back right to the drug as soon as they get out of the emergency room. Bath salts are so irresistibly addictive that many users seek professional help after only one month of abuse.

Users have said the high is so addictive that they cannot stop doing it, regardless of the consequences and that they don't want to be sober anymore, they just want to go out and get more because they can't live without it. The scariest thing is that no one really knows yet what the long-term ramifications of bath salt drugs will be. No one knows what damage the drug is doing to the brain, or how long the damage might last. It could easily turn out to be permanent.

State laws banning bath salts are difficult to enforce and researchers are still trying to determine the drug's composition to learn how to treat it. Users can be charged with public intoxication, but that's about it since the salts are technically not illegal. Hospital and psychiatric workers confirm the use of the salts is spreading and if the problem is not addressed quickly, it could become an epidemic even greater than the scourge of meth."


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