Compiled By: MedicalBillingandCoding.org
As reports of bath salts abuse keep coming in from North Carolina, Florida, Vermont and elsewhere, we’ve compiled a resource on what bath salts really are and how they impact your brain and body. To the producers of “Bath Salts” you should be ashamed of yourselves.
“Bath Salts” are Evolving and Law Makers Can’t Keep Up
Media coverage of the popular drugs collectively called “Bath Salts” has sparked a nationwide movement to ban the substances from retail stores, where they’ve been sold legally for years. (I’ve covered the effects of the drugs in a previous post here.)
President Barack Obama signed a bill into law earlier this month that bans the sale, production and possession of more than two dozen of the most common bath salt drugs. Under the law, anyone convicted of selling, making or possessing 28 synthetic drugs, including bath salts, will face penalties similar to those for dealing traditional drugs like cocaine and heroin. That’s a good first step, but the reality is that creators of the drugs are far ahead of federal and state attempts to remove them from shelves.
‘Bath Salts’ A Deadly New Drug With A Deceptively Innocent Name
By altering the chemical formulations in subtle ways, bath salt makers quickly create new substances that don’t fall under the criteria for being banned. Experts who have studied the problem estimate there are more than 100 different bath salt chemicals in circulation, according to the AP.
“The moment you start to regulate one of them, they’ll come out with a variant that sometimes is even more potent,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. AP News,July 25, 2012
Bath Salts are created by both professional and amateur chemists, often by altering the composition of laboratory psychoactive substances like MDPV and mephedrone, two of the most popular drugs found in the crystallized powder pouches. The results are synthetic stimulants that affect neurotransmitters in the brain, often with unpredictable results — especially if the drugs are mixed with other chemicals.
Along with the rise in media coverage, emergency room visits have also jumped: The American Association of Poison Control Centers received more than 6,100 calls about bath salt drugs in 2011 — up from just 304 the year before — and more than 1,700 calls in the first half of 2012.
So why is it so hard to get these drugs off retail shelves? Besides the ever-increasing number and variety of the drugs, the drug makers have escaped legal scrutiny by simply printing “Not for human consumption” on the packaging.
That may seem like an obvious lie (and it is), but it’s also been enough to keep many of these products in stores – particularly gas stations, truck stops and tobacco shops.
I’d anticipate broader legislation in the offing that captures a wider range of criteria. Even then, don’t expect bath salts to go away; there are a multitude of ways to buy them apart from retail stores, and a strong underground network circulating the drugs in every major US city.