Is My Child Taking Bath Salts? What You Need to Know
In the aftermath of the horrific face-eating attack in Miami, countless law enforcement agents and researchers have sited “bath salts” as the new meth—and the latest drug for parents to watch out for.
While toxicology reports are not yet in for the perpetrator, Rudy Eugene, many experts have said that he was displaying “classic” signs of someone who had done the drug. While high on this powdered substance named for its resemblance to a bathroom staple, many people have taken off their clothes, become violent with an almost “superhuman strength,” suffered from hallucinations, delusions and psychosis, and otherwise behaved in an irrational, paranoid manner.
“Bath salts” are actually a drug called MDPV (methylenedioxypyrovalerone) mixed with Mephedrone; users say its effect is much like that of methamphetamine. The substance is either injected, smoked or snorted. After getting high, users’ body temperatures soar; it also raises blood pressure and heart rates. The drug’s other effects include paranoia, hallucinations, and agitation. Using it just one time can cause hallucinations and intense cravings that result in days-long binges which can end in suicide.
The DEA banned the sale of the chemicals used to make the drug in 2011, stating that it was an “imminent threat to public safety.” Because bath salts are less expensive than cocaine or ecstasy and can be made cheaply in kitchens, the drug has become popular with adults and teens alike. Bath salts are still sold legally in many areas in liquor stores, convenience stores and head shops, though many states are trying to criminalize the drug, as Louisiana did last year.
How can you tell if your child is taking bath salts?
Drugfree.org lists good guidelines for parents on this drug. Here are a few to keep in mind:
Be on the look-out for small packets similar to those that contain moist towelettes. The packet might say “For adults only”; “Not illegal” and “Not for human consumption.” Bath salts are sometimes sold as “plant food”, “stain remover” or “insect repellant.” Some commercial names include White Lightning, Thunda and White Snow. Kids are gravitating toward the drug in record numbers because, in part, it’s perceived to be safer than methamphetamine and does not show up on standard drug tests. Once they take it, the speed of onset is about 15 minutes, and the high can last anywhere from 4 to 6 hours—or longer. If you notice that your child is displaying signs of agitation, paranoia and has an increased temperature or heart rate, call 911 or take him to a hospital immediately.