By nature, alcohol and drugs are dangerous. When a person ingests large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time, he or she is at risk of alcohol poisoning, which can lead to coma and even death. Then there is the wide variety of drugs on the streets today, any of which can make a person’s heart stop beating or cause cardiac arrest, stroke, or any number of preventable deaths. The addiction pandemic spans decades and continents and has resulted in countless cases of overdose and death.
However, substance abuse and addiction have been the motivation for many individuals stooping to committing crimes that they never otherwise would have committed; crimes like breaking and entering, robbery, theft, and forgery are just some of the crimes for which addicts have been imprisoned. And the unfortunate reality is that crime makes up only a percentage of the poor choices and bad behaviors that have resulted from physical dependence to substances.
Addiction to alcohol and drugs has caused many people, even honest people, to do things they never thought they’d ever see themselves do. The unpredictable nature of the behavior of individuals in the throes of active addiction is exasperated by certain drugs that are widely held to be even more dangerous than others. For example, phencyclidine—more commonly known by the abbreviated used on the streets, PCP—is a powerful dissociative hallucinogenic that has not only be the cause of some bizarre and unpredictable behaviors but has even made users of the drug violent. However, another drug has recently been sweeping the nation and has become a scourge on our culture.
Bath Salts: The New Danger
A new designer drug called “bath salts”, which is legal in most states, became popular back in 2011 and comes in the form of white powder and granules that look much like true Epsom bath salts one might buy in the health and beauty section of big-box general stores. In fact, they’re commonly sold under a label that falsely identifies them as bath salts despite being very different chemically.
It seems that bath salts hit the underground drug scene like a freight train. Tn 2010, the number of calls to poison centers regarding bath salts was a mere 304 compared to the following year, which saw an astounding 6,138 calls to poison centers regarding this new drug and is an increase of more than 2000 percent.
The Bath Salt Epidemic in Florida
Although bath salts have become a danger nationwide, it seems that the streets of Florida have seen more than their fair share of incidents relating to this addictive epidemic. In 2012, a vagrant man was thought to have been under the influence of bath salts when he attacked and began eating the face of another man, getting shot to death by Miami police in the process.
Although it was determined that the only drug in the man’s system at the time of his death was marijuana, the results of the toxicology on the man are infrequently mentioned and the incident is still often cited in discussions concerning the danger posed by bath salts in the United States. By the fall of 2012, a Tampa-based newspaper estimated that bath salts had killed at least 20 people in Florida alone that year.
According to users, most of the individuals who ingest the drug—which can be smoked, eaten, insufflated (snorted through the nose), or injected—the purpose of the drug is to mimic the effects of ecstasy and cocaine. Users believe that the drug will offer them feelings of euphoria and increased energy, making it ideal for raves and parties. However, the sheer number of violent incidents that are caused by the recreational use of bath salts questions these allegations.
Additionally, it’s been found that many individuals inadvertently take bath salts when they purchase some other type of drug, particularly ecstasy, that has been unknowingly “cut,” or diluted, with bath salts. Although there’s a danger with any drug of not knowing for sure what’s in it, this is especially dangerous when it comes to bath salts as the drug comes in a form that’s very forgiving to adulterants, allowing foreign substances to camouflage among the actual “salts” and become exponentially more dangerous than they already are.
Recently, a new synthetic designer drug has taken Florida by storm and has been the cause of another string of bizarre behavior in the same vain as bath salts. In fact, the ingredients of the new drug—called Flakka—are almost identical to those of bath salts with effects rivaling the stimulant properties of cocaine and crystal meth. According to epidemiologists, Flakka causes a rapid increase in temperature—or hyperthermia—that can cause individuals to become delirious and even psychotic.
Why Are Bath Salts So Dangerous Yet Still So Widespread?
Many have wondered how it could be that bath salts are so dangerous, and yet people still continue to experiment with them and have dangerous and scary experiences. The fact that bath salts are supposed to offer users an experience more in line with what they’d expect from ecstasy and other club drugs is largely thought to be the reason why individuals still continue to seek and consume the drug. Additionally, there’s no singular way of making bath salts with there being a long list of possible ingredients, frequently omitted from packaging and leaving buyers unsure of what’s in any particular batch of bath salts and, consequently, making it impossible to determine how much they should take.
With bath salts having such a diverse range of ingredients, law enforcement has been unsure of how to fight the drug and has instead remained focused on the more traditional drugs on the streets. In response to the bath salt epidemic, the government has targeted several of the key ingredients that are common in bath salts, such as methylone, and are making them illegal so that bath salts can’t be sold in stores. It’s the hope of law enforcement that these laws will prevent bath salts from being so accessible and significantly decrease the current frequency of violent incidents related to the consumption of bath salts.
Recover from Addiction to Alcohol and Drugs Today
If you or someone you know is addicted to bath salts or any other substance, Drug Treatment Center Finder is here to help. Our recovery specialists can help those in need find programs that will return them to sobriety, health, and fulfillment. Call us today.