Synthetic Cathinones aka “Bath Salts”
WARNING – In Name Only! Synthetic cathinone products marketed as “bath salts” should not be confused with products such as Epsom salts that people use during bathing. These bathing products have no mind-altering ingredients.
Bath Salts are synthetic (human made) drugs chemically related to cathinone, a stimulant found in the khat plant. Khat is a shrub grown in East Africa and southern Arabia, and people sometimes chew its leaves for their mild stimulant effects. Synthetic variants of cathinone can be much stronger than the natural product and, in some cases, very dangerous.
Synthetic cathinones are included in a group of drugs that concern public health officials called “new psychoactive substances” (NPS). NPS are unregulated psychoactive (mind-altering) substances that have become newly available on the market and are intended to copy the effects of illegal drugs.
Synthetic cathinones usually take the form of a white or brown crystal-like powder and are sold in small plastic or foil packages labeled “not for human consumption.” Also sometimes labeled as “plant food,” “jewelry cleaner,” or “phone screen cleaner,” people can buy them online and in drug paraphernalia stores under a variety of brand names, which include:
- Cloud Nine
- Lunar Wave
- Vanilla Sky
- White Lighting
- Scar Face
People typically swallow, snort, smoke or inject synthetic cathinones. People who have taken synthetic cathinones have reported energizing and often agitation effects. Synthetic cathinones can also raise heart rate and blood pressure.
Synthetic cathinones can produce effects that include:
- Paranoia, extreme and unreasonable distrust of others.
- Hallucinations, experiencing sensations and images that seem real though they are not.
- Increased sociability.
- Increased sex drive.
- Panic attacks.
- Excited delirium, extreme agitation and violent behavior.
Some other health effects of synthetic cathinones can cause nosebleeds, sweating, and nausea. People who experience excited delirium often suffer from dehydration, breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, and kidney failure. Intoxication from synthetic cathinones has resulted in death.
Are Synthetic Cathinones Addictive?
Synthetic cathinones can be addictive. Users have reported that the drugs trigger intense cravings, uncontrollable urges to use the drug again. Taking synthetic cathinones often may cause strong withdrawal symptoms that include:
- Problems sleeping.
In the state of New York it is illegal to sell or possess bath salts. New York has a toll-free hotline 1-888–99SALTS(1-888-997-2587). Individuals with information about illegal distribution of bath salts or synthetic drugs are encouraged to call this hotline.