Josh Chandler | June 1, 2015

Bath Salts Addiction

The term “bath salts” refers to a new type of synthetic stimulant that has emerged over the past several years.  Completely artificial and synthetically created, bath salts pose a serious health risk to those who ingest them.  Bath salts are basically a synthetic approximation of the drug cathinone, which is an amphetamine like stimulant.  Typically, bath salts are a white crystal like substance sold in drug paraphernalia stores and online.  They are marketed as plant food or jewelry cleanser to avoid detection from law enforcement.  Much like spice, chemical engineers are able to slightly vary the formula of bath salts to create a whole new version of the substance which causes different affects to the system.  With a constantly changing chemical make-up, there are no long term studies on the impact of bath salts to the system.  This causes a terrible risk to personal safety and health for those users of bath salts.

Bath salts can be consumed in a variety of ways, the most popular being snorted through the nasal cavity.  Bath salts can also be injected directly into the bloodstream much like heroin.  Intravenous use of bath salts can lead to a plethora of health and medical issues to the user.  Users of bath salts report increased levels of energy, similar to that of cocaine or methamphetamine, and hallucinations like ecstasy or LSD.  However, the inconsistent and erratic euphoric effects have been known to cause serious health complications, overdoses, and have led to the death of the user.  Emergency room visits related to bath salts have skyrocketed over the past few years leading experts to believe that the chemical variations of the drug are becoming increasingly dangerous.

Since bath salts haven’t been in circulation for very long, and because the specific chemical makeup of the drug is constantly changing to avoid being illegal, there are no studies on long-term use and abuse.  Early signs show that bath salts are highly addictive and users are likely to abuse the drug.  Much like any other addictive substance including heroin, methamphetamine and others, users of bath salts report that they have intense cravings when not using, and over time develop a dependence and tolerance on the drug.  Presumably, long-term use would lead to withdrawal symptoms that can themselves have devastating and lasting impacts on health and medical safety.

Bath salts may very well be the next major trend in harmful substances that lead to severe addiction and that have potential deadly consequences.  Additionally, since the chemical engineers who create the drug are constantly changing the formula, users really have no idea what they are ingesting or what the side effects will be.  The emergence of bath salts into society is a catastrophe and must be addressed with careful discretion and immediate action.

Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.

Research | Editorial
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