After a long day of work, or a stressful day at home chasing the children, many of us find a soothing soak in the tub to be just the therapy we need. The natural mineral bath salts sold at Cornerstone Cottage provide an added bonus of color- and aroma- therapy. So sit back and enjoy a soak. Mineral salts have long been used to decrease inflammation and relax tired muscles. But there’s something new on the market masquerading as bath salts (or sometimes plant food) and it’s deadly.
The message for concerned parents is a short one: Just because something is legal doesn’t mean that it is safe. Sometimes called “fake meth” or “fake cocaine, the “bath salts” contain MDPV (methlenedioxypyrovalerone) or mephedrone, both of which are derivatives of the chemical cathinone, a naturally occurring chemical found in the catha edulis plant. The “salts” are snorted, injected or eaten.
Effects include: Racing heart beat, Extreme elevations of blood pressure, Strange eye movements, Extreme agitation or anxiety, Hallucinations, Paranoia, Change in personality, Depression, Aggression or disturbed behavior, Delusions, Hostility, Violence, and Suicidal thoughts.
Experts can’t predict individual reactions, but many users have harmed themselves or others. Some have died. Some people have been institutionalized after using the drugs only once. No one knows yet whether or not this psychiatric damage is permanent. The teenagers we care about are particularly at risk, because they may be introduced to the drugs by being told, “bath salts are legal.”
If these “salts” are so dangerous why are they legal and why would anyone take them? These powerful stimulants are not real bath salts, but by being labeled “not for human consumption” manufacturers have been getting around FDA oversight and current laws. So while our legislators struggle to keep up with “designer drugs” as they appear on the market, these “salts” can still be purchased legally in many locations.
But there’s an even stronger motivation to abuse “bath salts” instead of cocaine or methamphetamine: MDPV and mephedrone don’t show up on most workplace drug screens. So users will “drop clean” and get a job. Would you want to work next to someone who could experience a psychotic flashback without warning?
The drugs first hit the radar at the Louisiana Poison Control Center. The State of Louisiana banned the drugs within 100 days of the first report. I spoke with Leon Root of the Franklin County Sheriff’s office. Officer Root says that we have not seen cases of MDPV use yet in Franklin County, but the drug is out there and certainly available.
The 50 milligram packets are sold at tobacco shops, convenience stores, gas stations, head shops, and truck stops for $25 to $50 under such names as Ivory Wave, Cloud Nine, Bliss, Tranquility, Blue Silk, Blizzard, Ocean Burst, Vanilla Sky, and more. A quick internet search found them readily available in Iowa and online. I even found one listing on the “free classified ad” page of a farm and garden newsletter from the Iowa City area (MDPV plant food).
The Iowa House banned synthetic marijuana on March 7, 2011, but as of this writing has yet to take action on MDPV or mephedrone. To protect the people we love from this frightening drug, our legislators must act quickly.
Follow these links to learn more. I found the Doctor Oz video (in 3 parts) particularly helpful: