EDITOR'S NOTE: Bath salts is the drug used by Miami's "naked zombie," Rudy Eugene, 31, when he was found naked eating the face of another naked man, Ronald Poppo, 65. Police fatally shot Eugene when he refused to stop eating the man's face, and Poppo was in critical condition today, with the skin around his goatee the only flesh remaining of his face.
There is an emerging threat to the health of our younger generation. It comes in the form of a powdered substance marketed as “bath salts."
It sounds harmless enough, doesn’t it? After all, who doesn’t want to relax in a nice warm bath? The problem is, these bath salts are being taken internally.
According to a February 1, 2011 report entitled “DEA Names ‘Bath Salts’ Drug of Concern” on CBSNews.com, prior to 2010 there were no reports to Poison Control Centers of poisoning by this substance, but during 2010, there were 236 reports. These reports came from 33 different states.
The substance referred to as “bath salts” is actually a drug called MDPV (methylenedioxypyrovalerone) mixed with Mephedrone. It is a synthetic amphetamine stimulant with effects closely resembling Methamphetamine.
There are many variations of this drug with a huge variance in ingredients. It is packaged and marked as an item to be added to bath water, but in reality, it is smoked, snorted or mixed with food or drink.
Why is it called “bath salts”? This is a way for the manufacturers to bring the product to market without being immediately shut down by the DEA or the FDA. Bath salts are packaged in containers made to resemble a legitimate bath salt and are marked “not for human consumption." It is packaged in small jars of only a few grams that sell for as much as $80, or in small bags of half a gram or so.
In the CBS news report, Dr. Jennifer Ashton said the drug increases the heart rate and raises blood pressure, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. She also noted psychological effects including delusions, paranoia and psychosis.
This drug is rapidly making its way around the country, likely due to sales on the internet. Several states have made it illegal but it will require a federal law to have it designated as a schedule one drug.
According to Dr. Ashton, legislation is being prepared to make it a controlled substance, but it takes time for the research and investigations to be done. In the mean time it is still widely available.
If you suspect your child is using this drug, you should take action immediately. There have already been hundreds of cases of overdose from the drug reported by hospitals around the country.
Since there is no control over production of this drug, the content and strength of it is unpredictable. The packaging does not typically list the ingredients. The bottom line is that this substance is very dangerous if taken internally, and Dr. Ashton has described it as “potentially life threatening."