ucps logo

Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools

Search by Keyword

Bath salts misused as "fake cocaine" send users to hospitals

Although they are labeled as bath products - or even as fertilizer or insect repellent - and include the warning "not for human consumption," word on the street and the Internet is that they can be used as "legal cocaine" or "legal speed." Users usually snort the powder and experience effects similar to cocaine and crystal meth. However, the euphoria often leads to paranoia, chest pains and irregular heartbeat.

Many users have been hospitalized because of paranoia, fighting, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and physical effects such as hypertension and rapid heartbeat. Some users have tried to kill themselves and others have attacked friends or family. Aftereffects of depression, anxiety and paranoia can last for days after using.

Users describe the drugs as many times more potent than Ritalin or cocaine. The substances most often are packaged as bath salts under brand names such as Ivory Wave, Ivory Snow, Ocean, Charge Plus, White Lightning, Scarface, Hurricane Charlie, Red Dove, Cloud 9, White Dove and many others. They are far more expensive than legitimate bath products, selling for $30 to $170 per gram.

In December 2010, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) listed a chemical found in many of the bath salts, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPDV), as a drug of concern. According to the DEA, MPDV stimulates the central nervous system and reportedly has caused intense panic attacks, psychosis and addiction. The psychotic effects of some of these products are what make them so dangerous, according to the director of the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa. "It makes people lose touch with reality," she said. "They're ending up in psychiatric institutions." At least one psychiatric unit in Louisiana has reported that half of its patients in any given week in December were related to the bath salts.

Across the country, poison control centers received more than 232 calls about bath salts abuse in 2010. Skyrocketing overdoses of these products in Louisiana led to the governor enacting an emergency ban on Jan. 6, 2011, of MPDV and other chemicals found in the bath salts. More than half of all cases in the U.S. have been reported there, and law enforcement has connected at least two suicides to the bath salts. Kentucky, which accounted for the second highest number of calls to poison control centers, has filed legislation to ban the substance, and the North Dakota Pharmacy Board has added several of the chemicals to its banned-substance list.

Sources: The Sacramento Bee, TheTownTalk.com, MSNBC

Written by: Lisa Callaham
Posted: Jan 25, 2011 by Lisa Callaham

Back to list of stories for Union County Public Schools