Bath salts, otherwise known as synthetic cathinone, have been on the radar for drug enforcement officials for years now. Some substances that are now understood through testing are now placed under a ban. The problem is that there are many other chemical formulas in development all the time.
Supply and demand will always rule, and makers will always look for ways to beat the system. New products mean new “legal” highs that young people can take whenever and wherever they please. This has lead to a big problem in controlling the classifications of drugs and dealing with the health risks.
What Are Bath Salts?
When we talk about bath salts, we don’t mean minerals put in bath water, so it smells nice. This is a slang name. Synthetic cathinone are synthetic versions of substances that mimic amphetamines and methamphetamines. Often, this means amphetamines such as MDMA or ecstasy, which are still popular club drugs in the UK.
In some cases, these users may be under the impression that they are the real thing. This means that they may have obtained the drugs under false pretenses. In other cases, they may just believe that the product is a safe, legal alternative.
Common variants include methylone and mephedrone. The latter will be more familiar to users by the name Drone or Meow Meow. These products retail in stores in similar packages to synthetic cannabis, like K2 and Spice.
They are bright, foil packets with warning labels that allow their legal sale. They identify as plant foods and sometimes as screen cleaners to get around regulations. Users either swallow them in bombs, snort the crystals or inject them
Why Are These Drugs So Dangerous And What Can Be Done To Limit Supply?
The appeal of these synthetic drugs is simple. They can mimic the feelings of euphoria and social interaction as ecstasy because of increased dopamine levels. They also produce trips and can also increase a user’s sex drive. However, these trips can easily verge into dangerous territory.
Anxiety, paranoia, and other cognitive problems can occur from taking these drugs. Regular use can lead to dependency and related problems of tolerance and withdrawal. Bath salts are rarely a direct cause of death, but it can happen. Addiction is an issue we tend to overlook with these legal highs. Addiction to bath salts is serious and debilitating. Anxiety, cognitive impairments, and erratic behavior increase to dangerous levels.
Legalization and supply and distribution remain the big issues here. For every product criminalized, there is another group of similar products released. Additional problems of addiction and street appeal aren’t helping the situation. The latest concern on a global level is Flakka.
This a new form of drug blamed for an incident in Florida. A 19-year-old student was allegedly on the substance when he stabbed a couple and ate one the victim’s faces. The fear is that this substance, and much more, could continue to flood the market legally. The more saturated it gets, the harder it is to control. For now, it is important that users understand the actual dangers.