What are they?
*The substances sold as “bath salts” and “plant food” products are based on the Schedule I
controlled substance cathinone, which is a potent central nervous system stimulant.
*They are not typical bath salts and have absolutely nothing in common with actual bath salts.
*Products are sold in a powder or capsule form that can be easily ingested.
*Product can be found in convenience stores, discount tobacco outlets, gas stations, pawnshops, tattoo parlors, truck stops and other locations.
*A small packet of the chemicals typically costs as little as $20.
*They are indirectly marketed as “legal” alternatives to the controlled substances cocaine,
amphetamine, Ecstasy, and methcathinone
*The most prevalent synthetic substances encountered within these products include MDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone), mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) and methylone (3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone).
*mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), had been previously unregulated because they aren‟t marketed, or likely intended, for human consumption.
*These substances are marketed as “research chemicals,”“plant food”, or “bath salts”, “not for human consumption,” to circumvent the Controlled Substances Act.
What do they do?
*Users have reported that mephedrone causes euphoria, stimulation, an enhanced appreciation for music, an elevated mood, decreased hostility, improved mental function and mild sexual
stimulation; these effects are similar to the effects of cocaine, amphetamines and MDMA. These effects last different amounts of time, depending on the way the drug is taken. When taken orally, users report they can feel the effects within 15–45 minutes, when snorted the effects are felt
within minutes and peak within half an hour. The effects last for between two and three hours when taken orally or nasally, but only half an hour if taken intravenously. Out of 70 Dutch users of mephedrone, 58 described it as an overall pleasant experience and 12 described it as an unpleasant experience. A survey of UK users, who had previously taken cocaine, found that most users found it produced a better quality and longer lasting high, was less addictive and carried the same risk as using cocaine
*The EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction) reported that mephedrone can cause various unintended side effects including: poor concentration, teeth grinding, problems focusing visually, poor short-term memory, hallucinations, delusions, erratic behaviorand dilated pupils. They noted that the most severe effects appear anecdotally to be linked with high doses or prolonged usage and that the effects may be due to users taking other intoxicants at the same time. Other effects that users in internet forums have noted include changes in body temperature, increased heart rate, breathing difficulties, loss of appetite, increased sweating, discolouration of extremeties, anxiety, paranoia, and depression. When snorted, it can also cause nose bleeds and nose burns. A survey conducted by the National Addiction Centre, UK found that 67% of mephedrone users experienced sweating, 51% suffered from headaches, 43% from heart palpitations, 27% from nausea and 15% from cold or blue fingers, indicative of vasoconstriction occurring. Doctors at Guy's Hospital, London reported that of 15 patients they treated after taking mephedrone in 2009, 53% were agitated, 40% had increased heart rates, 20% had systolic hypertension and 20% had seizures; three required treatment with benzodiazepines, predominantly to control their agitation. They reported that none of their patients suffered from cold or blue peripheries, contrary to other reports. Nine out of the 15 of patients had a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) of 15 indicating that they were in a normal mental state, 4 had a GCS below 8, but these patients all reported using a central nervous system depressant, most commonly GHB, with mephedrone. The patients also reported polydrug use of a variety of compounds
*Almost nothing is known about the long-term effects of the drug due to the short history of its use.BBC News reported that one person who used the drug for 18 months became dependent on the drug, in the end using it twice a week, had to be admitted to a psychiatric unit after he started experiencing hallucinations, agitation, excitability and mania. Because of its similarity to cathinone, it is believed that mephedrone may cause impotence with long-term use.
*People may also respond to the hallucinations, thinking they are not safe and take actions that may look violent.
*Those under the influence of bath salts may also hurt themselves, are agitated and could act paranoid.
*Bath salts also mimic the signs that are common to most drugs, including mood swings, change in dress and friends, a need for money and items missing, a drop in grades, a change in sleep patterns and trouble with relationships.
*Abusers of “bath salt” products have reported that they experienced many adverse effects such as chest pain, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, panic attacks, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and delusions.
*The drugs cause intense cravings Users often binge on it three or four days before they show up in an ER.
*Some users have reported anecdotally that they have “crashed” or “comedown” from
mephedrone with effects similar to those they experienced from “coming down” from ecstasy and cocaine, though longer in duration.
*The drugs advice charity Lifeline recommends that to reduce the potential harm caused by using mephedrone, users should only use mephedrone occasionally (less than weekly), use less than 0.5 g per session, dose orally rather than snorting the drug, and avoid mixing it with alcohol and other drugs. Users should also drink plenty of water whilst taking the drug as it causes dehydration.
*“It's a central nervous system stimulant, so it will increase your blood pressure, increase your heart rate, can cause anything from chest pain, heart attack, stroke. Those are just the physical symptoms. Some psychological (symptoms include) delusions, paranoia, psychosis. They're highly addictive, very dangerous." CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton
*“Doctors and clinicians at U.S. poison centers have indicated that ingesting or snorting „bath salts‟ containing synthetic stimulants can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and delusions.” Nora D. Volkow, M.D.,
Director of NIDA
*“Bath salts are easy to get, we see patients that are not novice drug users these are guys that are experienced. They have been using heroin and other drugs for a lot of years, their having hallucinations, they see things, demons, monsters and aliens. There are reports of people with guns barricaded in their attics trying to keep the monsters away from their families or their shooting the walls because they hear things. This anxiety and paranoia can go on for days and days after they use bath salts just once.” Dr. Mark Ryan
Where did they come from?
*Cathinone is an active ingredient in the leaves of the khat plant, native to Africa.
*These synthetic substances are suspected to be manufactured in bulk quantities in countries such as China, Pakistan, and India, and some of the actual products may be packaged for wholesale distribution in intermediate locations such as Eastern Europe.
*These drugs have been distributed and abused in Europe, particularly Great Britain and Germany, for several years. Mephedrone was first detected as a drug of abuse in Europe in November 2007.
What are the dangers?
*In 2010, poison control centers in the United States received 302 calls regarding bath salts. In January 2011, US poison control centers had already received 2,237 calls regarding bath salts as of May 12.
*There have been reports in the media of overdoses from ingestion of “bath salt” products which resulted in emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and severe psychotic episodes, some of which have led to violent outbursts, self-inflicted wounds, and, in at least one instance, suicide.
*In southern Louisiana, the family of a 21-year-old man says he cut his throat and ended his life with a gunshot. Authorities are investigating whether a man charged with capital murder in the December death of a Tippah County, Miss., was under the influence of the bath salts. *One man, Neil Brown, of Fulton, Miss., got high off the bath salts and then slashed his face and stomach. In Brown's case, he said he had tried every drug from heroin to crack and was so shaken by terrifying hallucinations that he wrote one Mississippi paper urging people to stay away from the advertised bath salts. "I couldn't tell you why I did it," Brown said, pointing to his scars. "The psychological effects are still there."
*In the Midwest, the Missouri Poison Center at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center received at least 12 calls in the first two weeks of January about teenagers and young adults abusing such chemicals, said Julie Weber, the center's director. The center received eight calls about the powders all of last year.
*In Blair County, at least one death has been attributed to a bath salts overdose. In another incident, two friends high on bath salts reportedly fought, stabbing at each other, over another container of the product. It also was reported last week a man high on bath salts in Scranton broke into a church monastery and stabbed a priest.
*A Lebanon County woman was using bath salts, which contain a synthetic drug, and got behind the wheel with a toddler in the car. Witnesses reported “an erratic driver who had run a red light and was banging her head against the steering wheel.”
What is being done?
* As of April 15, 2011, two of the chemicals used in making MDPV have been banned in 7 states, including Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, Washington and New Jersey. And, one of the chemicals used in MDPV have been banned in 10 more states, including, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Virgina, West Virginia and North Carolina. Similar measures are pending in Hawaii.
NOTE: PA Senate Bill 1006 - Amendment of Public Law 233, No.64 "The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act" - This legislation further provides for Schedule I controlled substances and bans the ingredients of "Bath Salts," "Synthetic Marijuana," and other "Designer
Drugs." This PASSED both HOUSE AND SENATE and was presented to the Governor on June 16, 2011. Corbett indicated he would sign it.
*Additionally, the trend in the development, distribution, and consumption of this class of substances in Europe has resulted in the United Kingdom and Germany banning products containing these substances.
*DEA is attempting to temporarily label MDPV as a Schedule 1 controlled substance
*A county judge issued an emergency injunction recently banning the stores selling bath salts in Schuylkill County from selling the drug. Injunctions have also been issued in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Centre, and Columbia Counties
*U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent and Pat Meehan are pushing for a federal ban on bath salts.