American Journal of Medicine, internal medicine, medicine, health, healthy lifestyles, cancer, heart disease, drugs

Treating Patients High on Bath Salts: A Growing Problem

Emergency rooms and poison control centers across the country are seeing increasing numbers of people high on bath salts. Yes… bath salts.

Sold legally in head shops and convenience stores, the bath salts are advertised as a bathing product, but people are snorting, injecting, or smoking them to get high. The problem is that users can become psychotic, violent, and dangerous to themselves and others under the influence of bath salts. Further compounding the problem, doctors are not clear how to treat these patients when they arrive in the emergency rooms, the compounds may not show up on drug screening tests, and the negative effects can be long-lasting. Ingesting bath salts is very dangerous.

Recently, the New York Times published a story about the bath salts, which are legal in many states. According to the Times, between January and June 2011, there were 3,470 calls to poison control centers about bath salts– up from 303 calls in 2010.

On The American Journal of Medicine website, the case study Bath Salts as a “Legal High” appears as an article in press. From the article by Smith et al…

Abuse of bath salts is a new trend in the US for those trying to obtain “legal highs.” A study in the United Kingdom found 1308 products for sale, in the form of pills, smoking materials, and single plant material/extracts.(1)

Our case illustrates the clinical presentation after using bath salts as a “legal high.” Drug screens will usually be negative, and poison control centers may not have knowledge of these compounds. Internet sites listed components of “Cristalius” to include: creatine, caffeine, “herbal blends,” hoodia, and sodium sesquicarbonate (the bath salt component). These products are advertised for bathing and not for human consumption and are found by many names, including “Ivory Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” “Snow,” and “Hurricane Charlie.” The drugs are usually snorted, but may be ingested, injected, or smoked. (2, 3)

The full story can be found here.

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