Synthetic cathinones, commonly known as bath salts, belong to a group of drugs classified as “new psychoactive substances” (NPS). Synthetic cathinones are related to an amphetamine-like substance that occurs naturally in the Khat plant, native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, but are far stronger and much more dangerous.
A number of different synthetic cathinones are commonly found in bath salts, including 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, and methylone. These chemicals produce effects similar to those of other stimulants, such as euphoria, increased energy, increased sociability, and heightened sex drive, as well as agitation, paranoia, delirium, and violence. Synthetic cathinones are also chemically similar to MDMA, a hallucinogenic club drug; molly, a supposedly “pure” form of MDMA, is frequently cut with bath salts.
Two common synthetic cathinones, MDPV and mephedrone, were permanently banned in the United States in 2012, though manufacturers simply began altering the chemicals used in bath salts. There are more than 70 varieties of synthetic cathinones. According the the National Institute on Drug Abuse, just under 1 percent of teenagers used bath salts in 2015.
Typically snorted, injected, or taken orally, synthetic cathinones are manufactured as a white or brown crystalline powder, packaged in foil or plastic, and marked, “Not for human consumption.” They are sold online and in head shops, under brand names including Cloud Nine, Flakka, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning, and Scarface. Synthetic cathinones are marketed as “bath salts,” “plant food,” “jewelry cleaner,” and “phone screen cleaner”; they are none of these.
Synthetic cathinones cause nosebleeds, sweating, nausea, racing heartbeat, high blood pressure, and chest pains, as well as panic attacks, paranoia, and hallucinations. Users frequently end up at the hospital. In severe cases, users experience dehydration, deterioration of skeletal muscle tissue, and kidney failure. Synthetic cathinones can be fatal; use of dirty needles may also lead to hepatitis and HIV.
Bath salts are highly addictive, causing intense cravings, increased tolerance, and high-risk, drug-seeking behavior. Withdrawal symptoms include tremors, sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, and paranoia.
The effects of bath salt addiction can be devastating, both to addicts and their families. Addiction is a progressive, incurable, and fatal disease if left untreated. With treatment, however, you can recover. It’s not too late to ask for help. Treatment is just a phone call away. To fully recover in mind, body, and spirit requires professional guidance. Recovery doesn’t just happen; you have work to do. At Harmony Place, you’ll have help every step of the way. We’re meeting where you are and taking you where you want to go. For information on our total continuum of care and luxury residential treatment and a private consultation, call us today: 1-855-652-9048