The group of synthetic drugs known as “bath salts” have been all over the news this year, leading some to call it the next drug hysteria.
And it’s not without reason. Their use appears to be spreading.
According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s most recent report, the predominant chemical in certain bath salts — alpha-PVP —
cracked the top-25 list of the most frequently identified drugs for the first time in 2014.
“Bath salts are starting to spread,” DEA spokeswoman Barbara Carreno told Business Insider. “It signals to me that all the media attention it has gotten is being read and seen so that people in other places want to know what they are missing out on.”
Most bath salts contain either cathinone, an illegal chemical linked with feelings of euphoria, enhanced alertness, and wakefulness, or alpha-PVP, its newer chemical cousin.
The Erowid Center, a nonprofit psychoactive drug information center, maintains a
forum on its website where drug users share their experiences with different psychoactive substances. Some on the forum have begun sharing their experiences using bath salts.
Here’s what they had to say about the drug:
“I could see someone easily committing suicide while experiencing this.”
“It was the worst night of my life,” one 28-year-old man wrote after taking “White stallion bath salts.”
The man recalled having a euphoric feeling for the first two hours of the drug. It descended soon after into depression.
“Before I knew it I had become a different person, and I cannot say that any better. It was AWFUL,” the user wrote. “I was extremely agitated and depressed (for NO REASON) and could not focus on any one thing or hold a single thought for more than a minute. The ‘coming down’ was more intense than the high.”
The user says he could not stop biting his lip and that he was unable to control his thoughts.
“I had lost control over my thoughts and remember thinking, ‘I could see someone easily committing suicide while experiencing this.'”
He said he would never take the drug again.
“It was incredibly eerie. I had never felt so unlike myself and so terribly frightened, agitated, and paranoid. I lost all control on that down buzz,” wrote the user.
Awake for 96 consecutive hours
A 25-year-old man claims he stayed awake for 96 consecutive hours after purchasing a 250-milligram bag of bath salts at a gas station.
The user said that on the first day he used a small amount of the bath salts, he began to feel fidgety, sore, and flushed.
“My body and mind are slowing down rapidly and I’ve developed a sight headache due in part to my teeth clenching,” the user wrote, noting that he decided to “redose” with a larger amount at the end of the day.
The user then described staying up all night reorganising his bathroom before noticing red splotches on his skin the next morning in the shower.
“Paying these no mind I compulsively scrubbed everything to a point I didn’t think possible, nearly bleeding spots of raw skin on my abdomen,” the user writes. “At that point, one of my roommates had started to pound on the door, I had been in the shower for over an hour.”
Later that day, the user claims to have taken another dose of the drug, which gave him “intense focus and motivation.” A day later, the user reports being “near mental collapse.”
“My mind, still recoiling in horror from being abused and kept awake against its will for so long, had started producing both scary and hilarious hallucinations to which I found the powder to help drown out due to my extreme focus,” the user wrote.
‘One of the biggest mistakes of my life’
A 25-year-old man says he took 24 milligrams of bath salts, which resulted in him losing control of his “behaviour, motor control, [and] decision making.”
Like the users before him, the man says he felt a feeling of great euphoria immediately after taking the drug, but that feeling soon turned on him.
“I still feel good, but slightly poisoned, and a little bit deranged. Glad I didn’t do any more than this,” the user recalled nearly two hours after taking the drug.
Ten minutes later the user updated his status, saying, “I feel frozen, similar to how you freeze when someone scares you, but without the fear. I can see just about anybody else having a total freak-out and running down the street naked by now … This stuff was in control, not me.”
Three hours later, the paralysis was practically total.
“I realise now that I cant move even if I want to,” he wrote. “My arms are paralysed stuck to my sides, my legs are shaking uncontrollably.”
The user reported having difficulties with muscle control and depression for the next several hours. In the days that followed, the user says, he suffered headaches, rigid muscles, inflamed sinuses, and “a feeling of death, decay, and weakness.”
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