Bath salts abuse has come on strong over the last 10 years. Moreover, it seems to be driven by the millennial generation. Generally, bath salts are the name for a class of drugs known as synthetic cathinones, including methylone, mephedrone, and methylenedioxypryovarlerone (MDPV). These synthetic substances are chemically like cathinone, a stimulant derived from the khat plant. However, while natural cathinone is relatively mild, the synthetic variations can be significantly stronger and have more dangerous side effects.
The term “bath salts” derives from the substances sometimes being sold in disguise as true bath salts. In other words, the appearance looks identical to bath salt crystals. In addition, they are sometimes marketed as “phone screen cleaner,” “jewelry cleaner,” or “plant food.” For example, baths salts are sold under several street names, including Ivory Wave, Purple Wave, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning, Cloud Nine, and Bliss.
Bath salts are classified as stimulants. Additionally, the psychoactive chemical compounds in bath salts may produce effects like those experienced from cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA (Ecstasy). Likewise, bath salts can be swallowed, snorted, smoked or injected and may be purchased from convenience stores, local drug dealers or the internet.Furthermore, they can be highly addictive, but also very dangerous.
Repeated substance use causes drug addiction, which creates lasting changes to the way the brain functions and operates. In fact, all misused substances alter the areas of the brain responsible for self-control, judgement, emotional regulation, motivation and memory. As a result, they interrupt the brain’s natural reward pathways. Similarly, bath salts will need increasingly higher doses to produce the same high. Essentially, the same as with most other drugs. Finally, issues like mental health disorders and ancillary health problems may complicate bath salts abuse.
Since bath salts act on the brain’s pleasure pathways, the individual experiences intense euphoria, followed by related emotional highs. As such, people might choose to abuse bath salts for a number of reasons, including: