Watch Out – What You Don’t Know May Hurt You
by Laura Sandlin, Deputy Chief, Hunt County Juvenile Probation Services

When I think of using “Bath Salts”, I think of a fizzy foam that I add to my bath to relax in. Not so, with a current and ever increasing trend of using bath salts by teens and adults to get high. This particular type of bath salt is not made for the tub, but can be purchased legally for as little as $20.00 at gas stations and convenience stores and on the internet under such names as Ivory Wave, Hurricane Charlie, Blue Magic, Red Dove, Blue Silk, Zoom and Vanilla Sky.

The bath salts contain stimulants that can cause such symptoms as sweating, nausea, rapid heart rate, suicidal thoughts, paranoia and hallucinations. The active ingredient is similar to methamphetamine but it is actually methadrone also known as MDVP. If used in high doses, it has been known to be fatal. This product is not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration because it was never intended for human consumption. This powdery substance is currently being snorted, smoked, swallowed and injected by its users. It mimics the effects of cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine.

There were approximately 292 cases of reported abuse last year that number is already at 469 for this year. Poison control centers across the United States took 1,782 calls in regards to these substances last year. Dr. Mark Ryan, director of Louisiana’s poison control center, said “at least 25 states have received calls about exposure, including Nevada and California. He said Louisiana leads with the greatest number of cases at 165, or 48 percent of U.S. total, followed by Florida with at least 38 calls to its poison center.”

There is story after story on the internet of horrific things people have done while under the influence of bath salts. Dr. Mark Ryan, said ,“ he worries that the paranoia could cause those experimenting with the substance to harm themselves or others.” In Grand Rapids, Michigan a teen was hospitalized for days after snorting bath salts. In January of this year, Michigan saw at least 20 trips to ERs around their state attributed to use of this product. There is no medicinal purpose for this product. It is simply used to get high. Many states are considering a ban on bath salts. The high experienced on this product only last a few hours so it may be hard for a parent to detect. Parents need to “watch out” for products containing MDVP or methylenedioxypyroverlrone and we all need to “watch out” for substances sold to our teens that could cause this much harm.


American Association of Poison Control Centers