Author: John Carter

Bath Salts Drug: Effects, Abuse & Health Warnings

how do people use bath salts as drugs

They give you a “high” that affects how you see others and the world around you. Their effects are similar to the effects of amphetamine and ecstasy (MDMA). A person may also find it helpful to speak with their friends and family about their substance misuse. Having the support of loved ones may encourage a person as they find help for their condition. A person experiencing bath salt toxicity may also show psychological signs, such as aggression, psychosis, or violence. When in this state, a person may be at risk of harming themselves or other people.

how do people use bath salts as drugs

These effects may develop due to taking high levels of bath salts or using them chronically. Bath salts only have recreational purposes and have no recognized medical application. Their potency and recreational nature make them prone to misuse and abuse, often leading to addiction.

Bath salts are sometimes used as a cheap substitute for stimulants like cocaine. Research shows that one common synthetic cathinone, called 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), is 10 times stronger than cocaine. Read on to learn more about bath salts, how they affect a person’s body and mind, and where to get support for substance misuse.

Overdose with bath salts

Should bath salts wane in popularity, authorities say they have no doubt new psychoactive designer drugs will take their place. “Whatever supplants bath salts will likely be just as dangerous,” says Goldberger. Clinicians can help prevent the lethal consequences of the next generation of illicit drugs by reporting any cases of drug toxicity to poison centers, advises Ryan. Real-time information from every poison center in the country “allows us to identify outbreaks and quickly learn the symptoms and how to manage” a new designer drug, he says. The drugs’ packaging often states “not for human consumption” in an attempt to circumvent drug prohibition laws.[6] Additionally, they may be mislabeled as plant food, powdered cleaner, and other such products. So far this year, fewer emergency departments are calling poison centers for advice on treating bath salts abuse—2468 calls as of October 31 compared with 5284 calls for the same period in 2011—but “the decrease in numbers may be giving us a false sense of security,” says Ryan.

how do people use bath salts as drugs

Containers of bath salts will also have warnings, such as “not suitable for human consumption.” Manufacturers do this in an attempt to avoid legal restrictions. Synthetic cathinones are similar to certain substances found in the khat plant. Khat is used in East Africa and southern Arabia for its stimulant properties. Over time, this can lead to physical and psychological dependence as you seek the euphoric feeling the drug provides. In addition, drug makers can easily skirt the ban on MDPV and mephedrone by turning to other cathinone derivatives, of which there are many.

This is very important because of the dehydration bath salts cause. Drink plenty of water before and during your time on the drug. The U.S. government passed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act (SDAPA) in July 2012.

What Are Bath Salts (Drug)?

“They say, ‘This is the worst high I’ve ever had in my life, but the cravings are so bad I keep going back and taking it,’” said Ryan. However, bath salts can also have serious adverse effects, including psychosis, violent behavior, and death. Like other manufactured drugs, bath salts may contain additional unknown substances. This can make them very dangerous, as a person cannot be sure what they are consuming. provides accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products.

  1. This can make them very dangerous, as a person cannot be sure what they are consuming.
  2. “The ban might make people who thought bath salts were legal stay away, but it isn’t going to stop people who really want access to them,” says Nelson.
  3. Using bath salts can trigger intense cravings and lead to drug binges, making cessation challenging.
  4. A person experiencing bath salt toxicity may also show psychological signs, such as aggression, psychosis, or violence.

This act listed mephedrone, methylone, and MDPV as Schedule I controlled substances. This is the most restrictive category of controlled substances. Bath salts are also available in tablet or capsule form, which can be taken orally. A person may also dissolve the bath salts into a solution to inject into their veins.

They are often sold on the street as cheap substitutes for other stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine. If you or someone you know experiences these effects, visit the emergency department immediately. Overdosing on bath salts requires close medical monitoring due to a lack of antidote for overdose cases. Using bath salts can trigger intense cravings and lead to drug binges, making cessation challenging. Regular use increases tolerance, necessitating larger doses to achieve the same effects.

Resources for Help and Support

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances. Bath salts can be ingested orally, snorted, smoked, plugged or injected. Bath salts can be detrimental to human health and can potentially cause erratic behavior, hallucinations, and delusions.[16] This is often due to their wakefulness-promoting effect, leading to insomnia.

The cathinones found in bath salts were made illegal in the United States in 2012. Bath salts are a designer drug of abuse with reports of dangerous intoxication from emergency departments across the US. “Bath salts” are not a hygiene product used for bathing, as the name might imply, but are dangerous synthetic (“man-made”) cathinones. Cathinones are stimulants found in the khat plant, grown in East Africa and southern Arabia.These mind-altering drugs are strong central nervous system stimulants that inhibit the dopamine-norepinephrine reuptake system (neurotransmitters in the brain). “We tested one package of bath salts obtained from New York City and found it contained a synthetic cannabinoid and caffeine and another one from Venice Beach, California, that contained 100% lidocaine,” says Ryan. “The clinical picture will be different for each.” Immunoassay screens routinely used for drugs of abuse in emergency departments don’t detect MDPV and other components of bath salts, adding to clinical confusion.

This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Data sources include Micromedex (updated 3 Mar 2024), Cerner Multum™ (updated 4 Mar 2024), ASHP (updated 12 Feb 2024) and others. The initial stage of treatment manages the drug’s immediate side effects, including temperature regulation and aggression.

Promoted as providing a “legal high” that can escape detection in drug tests, bath salts are intended to mimic the hallucinogenic and euphoric highs of methamphetamine or cocaine. At lower doses, they’ve also been marketed as a substitute for methylphenidate (Ritalin) to sharpen mental concentration and as an aphrodisiac. Adding to the attraction is the cheap price; a 200-mg package of bath salts—which may be 3 hits—sells for as little as $15 to $20. In purest form, the drug is a light brown or white crystallized powder.

Bath Salt Withdrawal Symptoms

In addition, users of bath salts may be taking other drugs simultaneously. In a recent study of drivers in Finland apprehended for suspicion of drug use, 80% of those with MDPV in their blood also tested positive for amphetamine, and 67% had combined benzodiazepines with bath salts. Because bath salts are so potent, high doses of sedatives may be necessary to prevent users from harming themselves and others. “MDPV produces psychoactive effects with as little as 3 to 5 mg, but packages of bath salts promote alarmingly high doses of 50 mg and above,” says Goldberger. You can have what is called “excited delirium.” If you have this, you will get dehydrated, your muscle tissue will begin to break down, and your kidneys may stop working.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced emergency scheduling in 2011 to control MDPV, mephedrone and methylone, all chemicals found in bath salts. Balt salts can lead to serious, and even fatal adverse reactions. The drug effect is a high or “rush” that is similar to methamphetamine (speed).