Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bubbles or Bath Salts

A number of months ago, I had a massage.  It was very relaxing and my massage therapist suggested I take a bath with some special salts later that evening to "remove the toxins.
  In the lull of the moment, I spent $18 on a paper bag full off bath salts.  I used some once, but the truth is, I prefer bubbles.  Recently, there's been a lot of talk about bath salts in the news, a staff member at the Hopkins Press asked if I could talk on "bath salts and cannibalism" and I must say, I was completely confused.  I've finally figured out that "bath salts" have nothing to do with massages or baths tubs.  As I'm sorting this out, I thought I would share with you what I'm learning.

So "Bath Salts" are the street name for a mostly legal drug (now banned in some states, Denmark, the Czech Republic, or Sweden) named Methylenedioxypyrovalerone --MDPV.  MDPV can be purchased in gas stations and head shops.

On the website for the National Institute for Drug Abuse, director Nora Volkow, M.D. wrote last year:

These drugs are typically administered orally, by inhalation, or by injection, with the worst outcomes apparently associated with snorting or intravenous administration. Mephedrone is of particular concern because, according to the United Kingdom experience, it presents a high risk for overdose. These chemicals act in the brain like stimulant drugs (indeed they are sometimes touted as cocaine substitutes); thus they present a high abuse and addiction liability. Consistent with this notion, these products have been reported to trigger intense cravings not unlike those experienced by methamphetamine users, and clinical reports from other countries appear to corroborate their addictiveness. They can also confer a high risk for other medical adverse effects. Some of these may be linked to the fact that, beyond their known psychoactive ingredients, the contents of "bath salts" are largely unknown, which makes the practice of abusing them, by any route, that much more dangerous. Unfortunately, "bath salts" have already been linked to an alarming number of ER visits across the country. 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

The ingestion of bath salts is associated with raising body temperature, which may lead users to take their clothes off.  It was speculated that the man who was found naked and eating the face of another man on a Florida highway may have been using bath salts, though the latest of Googled articles states that this was not the case.  

In any case, the "bath salts" in the tub are different from the stuff in the news.  Stick with the tub stuff, the MDPV variety seem to be doing nothing good and are very dangerous.  

And yes, I'd love to hear your bath salt stories