Trying to keep up with the changing landscape of illicit drug manufacture and use is a daunting task for a drug education professional, much less a parent. But it is something that must be attempted if children and young adults are to be kept educated and safe from dangerous, even life-threatening drugs.
One of the tactics used by unscrupulous drug manufacturers is to make a new formula that shifts the chemical composition of a banned drug just enough to circumvent the law. It takes awhile for law enforcement agencies to catch up and in the meantime, lives are threatened. Young people going to shops, parties or raves may be offered the new drug.
Which brings us to “Bath Salts.” These are off-white crystals sold in small bottles or foil packets at convenience stores and at raves or dance clubs around the country. They may be named something like Red Dove, Purple, Cloud Nine, Lunar Wave or Pure Ivory. The packaging will state that it is “not for consumption” and that it is just for use in a “refreshing” bath. But smoke it, snort it or shoot it and you will get a hallucinogenic, dissociative high that can be dangerous, even fatal.
More than three thousand calls for help have come in to US Poison Control Centers in the first half of 2011 alone. People have been injuring themselves or arriving in emergency rooms in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana and throughout the South, Midwest and New England states. Psychotic episodes mimic those resulting from PCP use a few decades ago.
At its worst, the drugs in Bath Salts have resulted in extremely high fevers that can cause organ breakdown and death, suicide, homicide and a psychotic state that can only be subdued with a general anesthetic or powerful anti-psychotic drugs.
Bobby Wiggins is a drug education specialist for Narconon. He advised, “Parents should sit down with their teens and young adults and give them the straight story on this deadly drug. They could be saving the life of their own child or one of child’s friends.”
The US Drug Enforcement Administration has just used their authority to place a temporary national ban on the chemicals in the drug, giving legislators time to catch up with federal laws. But this action is just likely to drive dealers of the drug underground.
The psychoactive ingredient in Bath Salts may be Mephedrone , 3,4 methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) or Methylone. In chemical composition and effect, these drugs mimic the action of khat, a plant-based drug grown in East Africa and frequently smuggled into Europe and North America. Bath Salts, which may also be packaged and sold as plant food or “research chemicals” over the internet, are thought to be manufactured in China or India and then smuggled into the US, the UK or Europe.
When talking about Bath Salts, parents can report the following results that have come from emergency room or police reports:
Extremely high fevers that can result in kidney failure and death.
Psychotic episodes in which a person cannot even be subdued even by sedatives or Tasers.|
Homicidal rages or hallucinations that cause a person to leap into traffic, injure someone or commit suicide.
Mental confusion and disorientation lasting months.
“Parents may not learn the name and effects of every new drug that hits the market,” added Mr. Wiggins. “Really, the only safety for our young people is to educate them that they can never know when drug or alcohol abuse will turn deadly. Even if the drug itself is not life-threatening, nearly any drug can result in a fatal accident by altering a person’s perception of speed or distance or slowing their reaction time.” Mr. Wiggins recommended working with youth to develop their goals and then following up to provide assistance in achieving those goals. “When young people look forward to the future and feel they are accomplishing their goals, they are less likely to be sidetracked into drug and alcohol abuse,” he concluded.