Bath Sale Abuse is on The Rise – Are You Prepared?

National Police Training
March 15, 2013 — 1,121 views  
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Bath salts refer to a family of substances having similar chemical properties. They often contain substituted cathinones that give effects similar to cocaine and amphetamine. Most of these drugs contain methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) or mephedrone. Both of these drugs can be traced to khat, an organic stimulant that is found in East Africa and Middle East countries. Mephedrone is a stimulant drug while MDPV is a psychoactive and stimulant drug. Psychoactive drugs are those that cross the brain-blood barrier and affect changes in the neurochemical functions.

Bath salt drug abuse is a relatively new trend that has surfaced over the past decade. There are two primary reasons for these drugs being dangerous: dosage, and sleep deprivation. There isn't any prescribed dosage for this drug that you should take to feel the effects. Buyers tend to get a whole pouch for about $50, which they use till it gets over. Most of the horrible effects of bath salts are experienced by people who ingest a large amount of bath salts at once or in a short period of time.

Effects of Bath Salt Abuse

When the brain gets a huge dosage of a psychoactive stimulant, overloading occurs in the nervous system and the brain's hardwired panic alarms start ringing. This predictably results in panic attacks, paranoia, reckless behavior, and mood swings. Apart from these, an effect known as hyperthermia is caused which overheats the body. This is because the heat generated in the body is more than what the body dissipates.

Another reason for bath salt drug abuse being dangerous is sleep deprivation. The psychoactive and stimulating effect of the drug brings the user's nervous system in a heightened state. The large amounts of stimulant keep the brain from sleeping, and even low dose sedatives are useless to induce sleep.

Bath salts are pretty addictive – they limit the brain's capability to reuptake dopamine, which causes the neurochemical to be stored in the brain. The brain enjoys such a state, and when the effects start to wear off, the user feels the need for more of the same drug to continue the effects. Many other drugs also cause addiction due to the same reason.

Detecting Bath Salts

Detecting bath salts is a difficult task as the drug has ever-changing chemical compositions. Ameritox, a practice management tools and laboratory service provider, has come up with a test to detect this class of drugs. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has listed three substituted cathinones as banned Schedule 1 drugs. The scientists at Ameritox have developed tests that can screen an additional 5 chemical compositions.

These chemicals aren't in any way related to bath salts in reality, and are created in laboratories using various controlled substances. Detecting and dealing with this drug becomes even more difficult as the producers tend to change the molecular structure slightly, to avoid getting into the class of illicit drugs. Bath salts drug abuse represents a new threat for agencies that needs to be quashed before the drug gets more popularity among users.

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