Thursday, October 18, 2012

Alarm Raised About Consequences of 'Bath Salt' Abuse

With concern growing nationwide about a rapidly spreading epidemic of abuse of the psychoactive designer drug commonly known as "bath salts," findings from a study of a key ingredient of bath salts published online yesterday in Neuropsychopharmacology are particularly troubling. Led by Michael Baumann, Ph.D., of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the researchers found that in rats the ingredient MDPV—an amphetamine-like chemical—appears to be "at least 10 times more potent than cocaine at producing locomotor activation, tachycardia, and hypertension." They noted as well that "The robust stimulation of dopamine transmission by MDPV predicts serious potential for abuse and may provide a mechanism to explain the adverse effects observed in humans taking high doses of 'bath salts' preparations."

The increasing use of bath salts by teens and young adults, bought legally in the form of a synthetic powder under colorful names such as Purple Wave, Red Dove, Blue Silk, and Vanilla Sky, prompted an extensive message from NIDA Director Nora Volkow, M.D., last year. She stressed that bath salts have been associated with "an alarming number of ER visits across the country. Doctors and clinicians at U.S. poison centers have indicated that ingesting or snorting 'bath salts'...can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and delusions."

Read more about the problem of bath-salts abuse in Psychiatric News here and here.

(image: gwolters/


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