Insight House Explains “Bath Salts”


What Are Bath Salts?

(From Fox News): According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), bath salts typically contain amphetamine-like chemicals, such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPDV), mephedrone and pyrovalerone. The drug is typically taken orally, through inhalation or by injection, the last two frequently pertaining to the worst outcomes for users.

Often touted as a cocaine substitute, the NIDA said bath salts act as a brain-stimulating drug. Similar to drugs of this nature, using bath salts reportedly triggers side effects like those experienced by methamphetamine users – most notably, intense cravings. Other adverse effects can include intense paranoia, extremely high temperatures and hallucinations.

Due to its chemical composition, bath salts have the ability to put people at high risk of abuse and addiction. However, because the drug is brewed illegally on the “streets,” the full extent of its composition is unknown, making addiction to bath salts even more dangerous.

To add to the growing concern is the growing popularity of the drug – leading to more and more ER visits from drug users. Over 6,100 emergencies involving bath salts were reported by poison-control centers in 2011, up from 303 cases in 2010, the Daily Beast reported.

To fight this staggering trend, at least 38 states have put bans on bath salts into place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.


Here are some basic facts about bath salts:

  • It’s a central nervous system stimulant, so it will increase your blood pressure, increase your heart rate, can cause anything from chest pain, heart attack, stroke. Those are just the physical symptoms. Some psychological (symptoms include) delusions, paranoia, psychosis.
  • They’re highly addictive, very dangerous
  • The substances contained in these products have absolutely nothing in common with actual bath salts.
  • “Bath salts” are snorted, injected or smoked which causes hallucinations, paranoia, rapid heart rates and suicidal thoughts.
  • The salts, which are allegedly as powerful as methamphetamines, have already been banned in the European Union, Australia, Canada and Israel. In the United States, Florida, Louisiana and North Dakota have all recently banned the substances.
  • Historically, people have sought out and discovered legal substances that while not intended for this purpose, do provide a high. Airplane glue, paint thinner, Sterno, cough syrup and aerosols are a few examples.
  • Increasingly, law enforcement agents and poison control centers say the advertised bath salts with complex chemical names are an emerging menace in several other U.S. states where au-thorities talk of banning their sale.
  • The marketing scheme for “Ivory Wave” and other bath salt aliases is such that labeling them with, “not for human consumption,” allows circumventing of the laws regarding the substances contained in them.
  • The active ingredients, the stimulants mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), had been previously unregulated because they aren’t marketed, or likely intended, for human consumption. This chemical has reportedly been sold since 2008 as a research chemical. It has also been sold as a legal drug alternative and marketed in the United States as “Bath salts” where you could find it in convenience stores, discount tobacco outlets, gas stations, pawnshops, tattoo parlors, truck stops and other locations.
  • The marketing scheme is similar to that for Spice, K2 which was sold as incense, and herbal smoking blends.
  • These altered chemicals avoid laws on what they should or can be used for. Unfortunately, with something new like “Bath salts” no laws exist to restrict its use, especially when designated with the “not for human consumption” designation.



(From Syracuse, NY — Bath salts is an elusive drug. It’s not the Epsom salts available at a bath and body store. It’s not a single type of drug. And these days, it may not even be called bath salts. Here are some frequently asked questions about bath salts:

What is it?

“Bath salts” originally described a synthetic drug sold in crystals that mimicked the effects of amphetamines, also known as “speed.” The drug was first reported in Europe, including Ireland, in early 2010, according to news accounts. Since then, the drug has branched out to substances beyond Mephedrone and MDPV, the two original drugs. In slang, it now covers any synthetic drug that gives the user a euphoric high. But the term has become so well known to law enforcement that other slang terms are used: plant fertilizer, glass cleaner or research chemicals.

Why is it so hard to stop?

The major difference between synthetic drugs and their predecessors is that synthetic drugs can be tweaked to avoid detection and the law. Chemical test kits do not test for all drugs; law enforcement must know what drug to test for. So a drug that constantly changes is a moving target.

The slang terms for these synthetic drugs are always changing. Using social media, drug users can quickly learn the new lingo. And the Internet is full of anonymous sites that review the newest, latest drugs. That’s a big change from previous decades, when it took longer for users to adapt and law enforcement could keep up.

Additionally, drug laws cannot ban broad types of drugs. While federal laws ban drugs similar in composition to illegal ones, they don’t cover the infinite drug combinations out there. Passing new legislation is a slow, after-the-fact process. Officers in Louisiana have seized synthetic drugs, only to be forced to give them back because they weren’t illegal.

Lastly, most of these drugs are produced overseas. To stop production means a diplomatic process in which federal drug officials work with foreign countries to crack down. Prosecution means working with foreign justice systems and extradition to the United States.

With such little control, federal agents are hoping to curb the market for such drugs to the extent that they aren’t profitable to make. But agents admit the drug makers could then switch to something else.

What effect do bath salts have on users?

Bath salts are usually stimulants, meaning they give a euphoric high. Experts say bath salts can give an improved high when combined with cocaine or other drugs. But much like prescription drugs, which often have mind-altering side effects, these drugs come with downsides. They make people feel hot, paranoid and easily frightened. There is a high suicide rate attached to the drug, because users feel it is the only way to escape the negative side effects. Withdrawal and depression can also lead to suicide. Users are also a danger to those around them, including loved ones, pets and law enforcement.

Do these drugs have a legitimate purpose?

Surprisingly, yes. Many synthetic drugs were created as research chemicals by scientists for medical and commercial industries. They are not much different from legal prescription drugs. Drug users are drawn to their side effects, much like prescription drug abusers are. The big difference is that prescription drugs are carefully screened by the federal government and tested by drug companies; bath salts are not.

How do you make it?

Bath salts are synthetic forms of the illegal drug cathinone, which is found in the khat plant. The process is much like making a legal drug. It requires a skilled knowledge of chemistry and a major production facility. Unlike methamphetamines, drug dealers can’t make these drugs with over-the-counter chemicals and a mobile lab. The makers are likely chemical enterprises overseas that may also make chemicals for legitimate purposes. Not only do makers need the right equipment, but they need the know-how to alter their products to avoid detection. Such facilities in the United States would be too heavily scrutinized to make these recreational drugs, experts said.

Commercial names of bath salts:

Aura, Bliss, Blue Light, Blue Magic, Blue Silk, Charge, Cloud 9, Cosmic Blast, Disco Concentrate Bath Salts, Energy 1, Hurricane Charlie, Ivory Coast, Ivory Snow, Ivory Wave, Magic, MDPK, Ocean Burst, Pure Ivory, Purple Tranquility, Purple Wave, Raving Dragon, Red Dove, Silverback Bath Salts, Snow Leopard, Stardust, Super Coke, Tranquility Bath Salts, White Dove, White Knight, White Lightening, White Rush, Zeus 2, White Girl, White Horse, Zoom 2 and Vanilla Sky. 