Bath salts is the name given to a new type of synthetic drug that is designed to mimic the effects of cocaine and other psychoactive drugs – it is not the same as the bath salts that are used when bathing (the name was choosing for this drug to make it easier to sell online). These substances belong to a category of drugs known as ‘legal highs‘ – although the law is changing to make it harder to obtain them.
What Are Bath Salts?
The exact ingredients of bath salts will differ depending on the producer, but the most common chemical used is cathinone, which is found in the khat plant. Taking bath salts can give a strong sense of euphoria as well as severe intoxication. It can make people feel more sociable and confident and can make it easier to stay up all night partying – the effects are similar to that produced by cocaine.
Sellers and users of bath salts may refer to this substance by a number of different names; and different names can appear on the label of this product. These can include:
- vanilla sky
- plant food
- jewellery cleaner
- phone screen cleaner
- white lightning
- cloud nine
The fact that this product goes by so many names means that many people do not realise what it is that they are taking when they first try it. It is common for sellers to choose names such as ‘phone screen cleaner’ and add a warning on the pack saying ‘not for human consumption’ in order for it to appear as if they are selling a legitimate product.
People can use bath salts in many ways. Some just swallow it, but it is also possible to snort the drug. There is also a growing trend to inject bath salts, which can be particularly dangerous.
The Dangers of Bath Salts
The use of bath salts is becoming a serious health concern in the UK. People will often be offered these drugs with it being inaccurately described as a type of safe and legal cocaine. The fact that this product can come in a fancy packet also makes it appear less dangerous. The reality is that bath salts can be lethal and, if people use it regularly, it can have a negative effect on mental and physical health; some people even suffer serious negative effects after taking the drug just one time.
Some of the negative effects of bath salts are similar to the effects of abusing drugs such as cocaine. This substance tricks the brain into producing more dopamine, which gives a pleasurable experience. The problem is that when the person stops using the bath salts there will be a lack of dopamine produced naturally, meaning that the person finds it hard to experience pleasure. This substance also produces hallucinations, which could eventually lead to psychosis.
Some of the other potential negative effects of using bath salts include:
- rapid heart rate
- dangerously elevated blood pressure
- chest pain
- intense paranoia
- intense confusion
- severe panic attacks
- kidney failure
- problems with muscle tissue.
The full dangers of using bath salts are still not known, but the fact that some of the products contain other chemicals means that the dangers can be ever-more severe. People have died from using this drug, and lots of people end up needing to go to casualty after just one time using the drug. There is nothing safe about bath salts and anyone who tries this drug is taking an unacceptable risk – there is a growing belief that it is more dangerous than cocaine.