When teens ask us about bath salts, we understand that they’re not referring to Epsom salt for a relaxing time in the tub. They’re talking about synthetic cathinones, which are stimulants made in labs. Bath salts and similar drugs cause extreme wakefulness and elevated heart and breathing rates. Many people seek out these drugs because they are viewed as a cheaper substitute for stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine, but just as lethal.
Using bath salts can cause severe intoxication, hallucinations, paranoia, panic attacks, and addiction. Serious health effects including dehydration and kidney problems can also occur. An additional danger of taking these synthetic drugs is that they might contain other substances with their own harmful effects, including life-threatening overdoses. Many people have had to be shot because the police couldn’t contain them while they were losing control.
Bath salts are usually white or brown crystal-like powder that are ingested in several ways, though snorting or injecting these drugs further increases the risk of harmful effects.
Despite their health risks, some of these drugs are sold legally in stores or online in small plastic or foil packages with the words, “Not for human consumption.” In addition to “bath salts,” synthetic cathinones are sometimes labeled as “plant food,” “research chemicals,” or “glass cleaner.” AVOID AT ALL COSTS!