Similar to the effects produced by amphetamine or cocaine, a family of designer drugs known by their street name of ‘bath salts’ are becoming more and more prevalent. There are legal bathing products like Epsom salts, and others labeled as ‘not for human consumptions’ that contain white crystals and are readily available.
In 2011, the number of calls to poison control centers concerning bath salts rose to 6,138, from only 304 in 2010. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers 1,000 calls had been made by June 2012.
Symptoms such as heart palpitations, cold fingers, headaches and nausea have been reported by users of bath salts. Panic attacks, hallucinations and paranoia have also been reported. Reports in the news have included heart attacks, liver failure, violent behavior and kidney favor as well as suicides and an increased tolerance for pain.
Although little is known about actual numbers of bath salt abusers, mephedrone is the fourth most commonly abused drug among night club goers in the UK, after cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine. Use of bath salts in the US is believed to have increased dramatically between 2010 and 2011, based on reports from the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Widespread availability as well as the increased media coverage are thought to be reasons among the significant spike in use.