Bath Salt Intoxication
Bath salts are a category of designer drugs developed for the purpose of increasing the pleasure of self-administered self-massage. The word derives from cases where the medications were disguised as bath salt. The bath salt, often white, often resembles Epsom salts, yet are different chemically. The bath salt, also called Dead Sea salt, was traditionally used as an antidote for poisoning, as well as being used to treat several other conditions such as headaches, toothache, flatulence, diarrhea, cramps and hemorrhoids. It is believed that ancient civilizations developed the bath salt as a method of soaking hands or feet in liquid that would loosen ailments and make them easier to deal with.
Today, bath salts are used by millions of people, both young and old, as a source of pleasure and as a natural alternative to medications for various illnesses and ailments including depression, arthritis, high blood pressure, migraine, diabetes, and addiction to alcohol. Many users claim that bath salt causes a sort of “antidote” for these and other ailments. Those who have not personally experienced the bath salt effects claim that there are no negative side effects, and the positive experience makes the bath salt one of the most popular natural health products on the market.
In recent years, however, bath salt manufacturers have been producing bath salts containing synthetic cannabinoids. Such products are often called “plant food,” and are commonly found at organic fairs, festivals and concerts. These synthetic cannabinoids are manufactured using a chemical process that does not require heat or sun exposure, making them completely safe to ingest. Synthetic marijuana has even been introduced to the public, although it has yet to be made available over the counter in any form. There are currently no laws in any jurisdiction nationwide that regulate the production, sale, or consumption of synthetic marijuana. Some users, however, are wary of such products, advising others to never take bath salt containing synthetic cannabinoids.
There are two primary types of bath salt drugs, those containing delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and those containing other plant chemicals. Most jurisdictions have outlawed selling or distributing bath salts containing THC, which is also known as “potency concentrate”. However, the consumption of bath salts containing other substances, including CBD, has not been outlawed. In some jurisdictions, possession of cannabis with intent to sell is illegal, while in others, possession of bath salts is not considered a crime. Each jurisdiction is somewhat different, so a bath salt user should always inform when acquiring the substance.
Most bath salts contain synthetic cathinones. They are typically derived from a plant such as the kava plant or the roots of the Indian rhubarb root, both of which contain compounds that act as strong stimulants. Because these chemicals mimic the effect of cocaine, bath salts are often used by teenagers to spice up casual sex. The effects of the bath salts can last for several hours after taking the drug, providing a high similar to that produced by cocaine. They can also be used to fade embarrassing marks and dark circles under the eyes after a night of dancing.
Concerns about bath salt use have prompted state and county criminal justice departments to begin to educate law enforcement officers about the dangers of bath salt products. According to a report from the American Association of Drug Enforcement, bath salt abuse has quadrupled since the 1980’s. The abuse is particularly concentrated in younger people who frequent parties and other adult social events. Withdrawal symptoms can include intense cravings for the drug, paranoia, extreme anxiety, agitation, shakes, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and severe headaches.
In response to these findings, local police departments are diverting resources towards finding and arresting individuals who are selling bath salt, as well as investigating those who are using them in public settings. This is important not only to curb the rising tide of designer drugs in American society, but also to ensure that the safety of those who are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of bath salts are not overlooked. Those who frequent bath houses and other similar private residences are at particular risk for these designer drug experiences, as well as those who use public transportation to get to work or other locations. Those who take designer drugs in public may not even be aware of the adverse affects on their body until they show signs of intoxication.
Designer drugs are made in various chemical compositions, and it is unknown if any of these bath salts contain synthetic versions of the cathinone family. Synthetic cathinones act in a similar way to cocaine and other illicit drugs, which make the danger of intoxication much higher. Those who experience an immediate onset of intoxication may also experience paranoid delusions and severe confusion after their body absorbs the bath salt. If bath salt intoxication occurs within a shorter amount of time after ingestion, there is a greater chance of death or severe bodily injury. There are serious concerns that designer drug users could be slowly poisoning themselves through over-consumption over a period of time.