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The New Teen Drug: Bath Salts

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all in drug abuse among teens, here comes a new drug reportedly more potent than heroin and more dangerous than crack: bath salts.

"Bath salts" (mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone) or MDPV has been responsible for sending scores of teenagers to the emergency rooms across the country. The number of emergency related incident calls related to this widely available drug skyrocketed from 235 calls last year to 246 calls in January of this year alone.

The “bath salts” being sold contain cathinone, which is a plant grown in Africa. It affects the neurotransmitters in the brain much like meth or crack would. However, there is no government regulation at this time because of the fact that it is not manufactured for human consumption. Louisiana currently is being hardest hit with deaths and serious injuries because of ingested bath salts.

“Bath salts” has been sold under the street names of Cloud 9, Ivory Wave, Ocean, Charge Plus, White Lightning, Scarface, Hurricane Charlie, Red Dove and White Dove. It comes in powder and tablet form and is ingested by snorting, injection, smoking, or less often, by use of an atomizer. “Bath salts” is a psychoactive drug with stimulant properties, which acts as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI).

Also called synthetic cocaine, fake coke, “charge” or the new Miaow Miaow, the usage of this product has become a fast-growing, highly addictive trend. Teens who have used and survived to tell the story say they can’t get enough of the fake coke. Unlike cocaine or meth, the white powder is still legal in most of the U.S. and it is sold at gas stations and specialty shops around the country. Some parents are reporting that their teenagers are staying awake for as long as 72 hours in complete pandemonium.

“Bath salts” is a powerful synthetic stimulant that has been responsible for many deaths. Many users are overdosing, committing violent drug-induced suicide, or having accidents caused by their paranoia. Producing effects worst than cocaine and meth, “bath salt products” have already been banned in Scotland following related deaths. Last December the DEA listed “bath salts” as a drug of concern but has no current plans to ban it nationwide. Florida has become the second state to ban "bath salts" following Louisiana. Officials in Mississippi, Kentucky and other states have begun to take similar steps.

Sold with items like herbal incense and synthetic marijuana, local drug advocates say they've seen abuse of bath salts increase dramatically. While it's a fairly new problem in Florida, deaths have already been reported in Kansas, Louisiana, and overseas. Now, the legal high is becoming more popular in the Miami / Fort Lauderdale area.

According to Dr. Richard J. Geller of the California Poison Control System, the problem is what's inside these so-called salts. The most common ingredient used in “bath salts” is called 4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, also known as MDPV. But also commonly found inside that "instant spa at home" is Mephedrone, aka 4-Methylmethcathinone, a compound very similar in structure to Methamphetamine. Other substances Geller says are "implicated" as “bath salts” include 4-Methylenedioxymethcathinone (Methylone), 4-Methoxymethcathinone, 4-Fluoromethcathinone, and 3-Fluoromethcathinone. All four are derivatives of Methcathinone, also known as Khat, Jeff, and Cat …a drug Geller says is structurally and pharmaceutically similar to methamphetamine. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has it listed as a "schedule one" drug under the Controlled Substances Act -- the same class as heroin, pot, and mescaline.

Adolescents who abuse household products (e.g., prescription pills or bath salts) may benefit from tough love. Parents may consider limiting their child's access to certain areas of the house until they can be trusted.

If your teen has gotten involved with this highly addictive substance or any other drug, please seek help before it’s too late. For immediate attention, seek your nearest emergency room -- and when your teen is stabilized, seek the help of an addiction treatment center that specializes in treating teens.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

1 comment:

kris saxon said...

I live in SC. I was at an ER when a man was there for this.
I always say," Do not to try anything, as you might get like it and get addicted". This has been a good one liner, that my child remembers well. It has seemed to work this far. He is 15.

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