When you hear the term “bath salts,” you might automatically envision lavender-scented sachets that are dumped into a nice, relaxing bath. Unfortunately, those aren’t the kind of bath products making headlines these days.
Bath salts are usually sold in small plastic baggies or foil packaging and consumed as a legal substitute for stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine. They come in powdered form and are typically sold on the street under various names like “Eight Ballz” and “Mr. Nice Guy.”
Abusing Bath Salts
Bath salts first made national headlines back in May 2012, when the substance was blamed in the “Miami cannibal attack” where Rudy Eugene attacked and cannibalized a homeless man named Ronald Poppo.
Two months later, President Obama signed a bill that put a federal ban on bath salts.
Although the number of bath salt-related calls to poison control centers has plummeted since then, it’s still a drug with highly addictive components, sparking a wave of addiction mainly among teenagers.
Portrait of a Teenage User
A new study out of New York University and published in the American Journal on Addictions collected data from 8,600 teens across the country, specifically related to the use of bath salts.
The study found that:
- Only 1 percent of high school seniors reported trying bath salts
- Nearly 20 percent of those teens who have tried bath salts admitted to taking the substance at least 40 times
- About one-third of the teenagers who tried bath salts only used them once or twice
- Most of the teenagers who used bath salts at least once also admitted to consuming alcohol and marijuana
- These teens were also 10 times more likely to use other hard substances including cocaine, LSD, crack and heroin
Effects of Bath Salts
Side effects of the drug include can include paranoia, suicidal thoughts and extremely aggressive behaviors. Last July, for example, a British tourist in Mallorca had to be restrained and handcuffed by a total of 10 cops after biting multiple tourists while high on bath salts.
Prior to the federal ban, bath salts were seen as a legal substitute for illegal drugs. However, a study published in the Behavioral Brain Research Journal found that bath salts are just as habit forming as the drugs they were meant to replace.
Additional Reading: Flakka: The Designer Drug Putting Bath Salts to Shame
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