Before the “zombie cannibal” attacks in Florida, did you know what bath salts were? Or did you even know they existed? And no, we aren’t talking about the therapeutic essential salts you can add to your bath to relax your muscles. These bath salts are much more dangerous and anything but
relaxing.Synthetic Drugs Make Their Way Into the Mainstream
Bath salts are one of several new synthetic drugs that have made their way into the mainstream. Another drug, known as K2 or Spice, is basically synthetic marijuana and contains many ingredients that have been banned by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It can be difficult to distinguish these synthetic drugs from legal products, yet they can be very dangerous if abused. How Can You Identify These Dangerous Drugs?
K2/Spice is advertised as “herbal incense” or “plant food,” and almost always contains a label that states “not for human consumption.” But you can be sure that these manufacturers know exactly what people are buying their product for; the false labels and warnings are merely an attempt to hide their true purpose to protect themselves from possible FDA penalties.
This “herb” is made up of synthetic cannabinoids, or substances that many users claim have the same effects as THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that makes you high. Worse still, synthetic marijuana was being marketed as a way to legally get high. Unfortunately, the marketing tactics have worked, because more than 11 percent of 12th graders used K2 last year. It’s the second most commonly used illegal drug among 12th graders, right behind real marijuana.
Just like synthetic marijuana, bath salts are not really salts that mix well with your bath. The drug is labeled the way it is as a way to mask its true dangers and hide from the FDA. Bath salts can be very dangerous indeed, because they have some chemicals that resemble amphetamine, including mephedrone, methylone, and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or MDPV. Smoking bath salts can cause a wide range of powerful symptoms, including feelings of paranoia, hyper-awareness, violent behavior, loss of appetite and sleep, restricted blood vessels, higher blood pressure, and increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, or psychosis. Are They Easy to Get?
One surprising aspect of these new synthetic drugs, until recently, was just how easy it was to get your hands on some; you could find them in head shops, smoke shops, and almost any other “alternative” store. It was simply a matter of walking inside the store, picking a scent or flavor, and checking out as you would at a grocery store or pharmacy.
Luckily, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration moved quickly to classify the main ingredients in bath salts and synthetic marijuana as Schedule 1, which means that selling, manufacturing or using these drugs will carry the same stiff penalties as other hard drugs like cocaine and crystal meth. Unfortunately, illegal drug chemists have stepped around the DEA’s bans by making new versions of the substances that are much harder to track. What Can You Do to be Prepared?
If you see anyone selling a product with a name like the ones mentioned above, or including catchy titles such as Purple Wave, Ivory Wave, Bliss, Vanilla Sky, Black Mamba, Ocean Breeze, or Dragon, please give the local authorities a call.
On the other hand, if you see or hear your child talking about these drugs or using these code names, speak with them to clarify what exactly they are talking about, and take appropriate measures. Many times, a simple conversation is all it takes to properly inform kids about the dangers of drug use. Other times, you may have to resort to turning to local substance abuse groups for help.Cited Sources
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"Synthetic Drugs (a.k.a. K2, Spice, Bath Salts, Etc.)." WhiteHouse.gov
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Towne, Leigh Anne. "State Police Warn of Synthetic Drug Crackdown." Fox17Online.com
. Fox News, 27 June 2012. Web. 8 Aug. 2012. <http://www.fox17online.com/news/fox17-k2-and-spice-synthetic-drug-crackdown-on-july-1-20120627,0,403406.story>.
Stefanik, Roy Michael. "What Are Bath Salts and Why Are They Dangerous?" KevinMD.com
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