Bath Salts

The Zombie Apocalypse

Many of us have heard tales of drugged up men and women cutting their own skin open, violently attacking each other and eating human flesh while intoxicated on bath salts. The stories are horrifying, reminiscent of a Rob Zombie feature film. But what are the facts? What are the signs? And what are the real effects of this new age drug?

Growing in popularity in the United States specifically, ‘Bath Salts’ have become an easily attainable mind altering substance. This is an emerging drug gaining traction amongst addicts. The drug contains synthetic chemicals that are related to cathinone. This is an amphetamine-like substance.

Reports have surfaced revealing the dangerous effects associated with the use of bath salts. It has been ascertained that bath salts pose a serious safety and health issue. The synthetic stimulant produces increased social interaction, increases sex drive and creates a sense of sheer euphoria. Sounds like a typical amphetamine right? The drug has also made headlines for its other horrifying effects. Users have experienced hallucinatory delirium, showing psychotic behaviour, full blown psychosis and violence (to the point of murder, suicide, and self-harm). Death has been reported in several cases.

Effects and Symptoms

The common physical symptoms of bath salt abuse include:

• Racing heart
• Chest pain
• High blood pressure

The psychological symptoms of bath salt abuse include:

• Paranoia
• Panic attacks
• Anxiety
• Hallucinations

Some users experience a syndrome that has become known as ‘excited delirium.’ Alongside this delirium comes dehydration, kidney failure and the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue. These effects have proved fatal in many instances.

Only in the early stage of studies, Cathinone has indicated high addiction potential. In a study of the rewarding and reinforcing effects of the substance, rats displayed self-administration patterns and escalation of drug intake almost identical to methamphetamine addiction. The danger of bath salts, much like the substance cat, is that the drug contains other unknown elements and ingredients. Combined, the effects may be disastrous.

Bath salts were only recently removed from convenient stores in the United States. South Africa is yet to tackle this problem head on. It is up to us to educate ourselves and the community at large about the harrowing effects and dangers that come with this new drug trend.

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