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Dangers of Bath Salts

Updated on June 3, 2012
Ivory wave bath salts
Ivory wave bath salts
Vanilla sky bath salts
Vanilla sky bath salts

What are bath salts?

I'm not talking about the traditional bath salts that you buy to make tub water smell great. This is a new substance being abused around the country, particularly referred to in the case of Rudy Eugene, a man who ate 70% of the face of someone in Miami not too long ago. Bath salts are a combination of several synthetic chemicals that give users a high similar to crystal meth and cocaine. Some of the chemicals in bath salts include methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), and mephedrone.

Bath salts are commercially available products, in which the stimulants named above are legall and mixed within the synthetic cathinones. It is less common that a synthetic stimulant called Methylone is used. Bath salts are related to the parent compound cathinone, which is naturally within the Khat plant and has a mild stimulative effect. The most common cathinones sold in the recreational market is MDPV, mephedrone, and methylone. They are usually highly pure, and come in the form of white or brown powders. The effects are similar to cocaine, crystal meth, and ecstacy.

It is illegal in numerous states in the U.S, soon to be nationally. Most people access this drug through the Internet, purchasing it as the products are disguised as bath salts. It has many names on the market like "Red Dove, Blue Silk, Zoom, Bloom, Cloud Nine, Ocean Snow, Lunar Wave, Vanilla Sky, Purple Wave, Blizzard, Star Dust, Ivory Wave, White Lightning, Lovey Dovey, Snow Leopard, Aura, Scarface, and Hurricane Charlie." They are sold under monikers of popular products such as bath salts, insect repellant, jewelry cleaners, or screen cleaners. On the pack it states "not for human consumption," typical for disguised stimulants.

Consuming bath salts can be potentially dangerous. Little is known about this drug and should not be tried by anyone. It has been associated with irrational and violent behavior, even death. A stranger insight on this drug is thee Miami face eating attack committed by Rudy Eugene.

Homicides related bath salts drug

Bath salts have been associated with very irrational behavior. Stores around the country are even selling this product to children without identification. The people who use this are not sleeping, extremely irritable, and even losing dramatic amounts of weight. The most serious outcome of the use of bath salts is the rising number of homicides and suicides occurring with its use. Here are a few situations that have happened recently due to bath salt use.

Bath Salt User Killed by Friends

19 year old Daniel J. Richards of Grand unction, Colorado was strangled to death when his friends tried to subdue him. It is believed he was using a drug called "Alpha-PVP" on April 10 when he began to act violently towards those around him. He was taken to the hospital after the altercation was over by friends and died a few days later when he was taken off life support. Homicide was the cause of death but no arrests were made because investigators have yet to determine if a crime was committed.

Alpha-PVP is one of many synthetic compounds sold as bath salts. It mimics the effects of cocaine and other hard drugs, with far more severe dangers. Effects include agitation, increased heart rate, extreme rise in body temperature and blood pressure, paranoia, hallucinations, and aggressive behavior.

Army Sgt. David Steward and wife Kristy S. Sampels Murder/Suicide

Army Sgt. David Steward shot his wife, Kristy S. Sampels, after speeding past a Washington state trooper on Insterstate 5. As the pursuit continued, Sgt. Steward ended up crashing the vehicle along Turnwater. After he crashed the vehicle he shot himself. Pierce County sheriff's deputies would discover the body of their 5 year old son Jordan in their Spanaway home's bedroom. The child had bruises all over his body with a plastic bag over his head. It is believed the child was dead 24 hours prior to being found. Investigators found packets of bath salts in the Sergeant's vehicle, on him and in their home.

Dickie (left) and Richard (right) Sanders
Dickie (left) and Richard (right) Sanders

Bath salts drug suicides

There have been a fair amount of suicides related to the new legal high on the market known as the bath salts drug. Below are a couple of suicides that took place after the individual ingested this drug:

St. Tammany Man Commits Suicide after using Bath Salts Drug

Dickie Sanders of St. Tammany snorted a packet of Cloud 9 bath salts. He was looking for euphoric states of mind, instead he found the remaining time of his life full of horror. After using the drugs he became extremely paranoid, thinking the police were closing in on him. 21 year old Dickie Sanders would then, in front of his father and sister, grab a knife and proceed to slash himself by the throat from ear to ear. He survived this suicide attempt.

After slitting his throat and barely missing major arteries the wound was stitched up. After this incident he no longer used the drug but continued to have extreme episodes of psychosis. Things got so bad his dad had to lay beside him, but the father would soon fall asleep. The next morning Richard Sanders woke up to seeing his son lying on the floor in another room. But Dickie Sanders found a .22 caliber youth rifle in the home, put the barrel in his mouth, and pulled the trigger, killing himself.

Denny Kurzhal Commits Suicide after using the Bath Salts Drug

He began using the drugs for energy and to lose weight. In two months time, he lost 60 pounds. Soon he began to hallucinate, on two occasions showing up at his sister's home saying FBI agents were watching him eat lunch and following him throughout town. His sister watched him leave but seen no one following behind him, which she came to the conclusion that he was out of his mind. One day he was outside staring at trees. His cousin came outside and asked him "what are you doing" and Denny responded, "I'm looking for a place to hang myself." The next day, Denny went in his garage and closed the door, turning his motorcycle on and lying down, letting the fumes kill him.


Long term effects

With this synthetic drug, there is no such thing as short term effects. The chemicals blended within only give the user long term effects. The more it is used, the more likely the person will suffer severe psychotic episodes, which has lead to a number of cases of murder and suicide. Strange hallucinations have occurred such as the people arrested in West Virginia after trying to cut their 5 year old daughter with the knife they had to "stab the 90 people in their walls."

To understand the effects of the bath salt drug you must first understand the ingredients within. The following listed below are the effects caused by the three most common chemicals found in this synthetic drug. Take a look:

  • Methylone

Methylone, aka "M1", 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylcathinone, bk-MDMA, is an entactogen/stimulant and is a relative of the cathinone, amphetamine, and phenethylamine classes. Originally patented by Jacob Peyton and Alexander Shulgin in 1996 with intentions of being an antidepressant. Soon it would be abused for recreational use, starting in 2004 with a new designer drug hitting the Netherlands by the name of "Explosion." Soon this designer drug, coming in liquid form hit the United States via the Internet, along with other countries. Now it is used as one of the main ingredients in the new synthetic bath salts drug. Below are side effects of this chemical:

Stimulation, euphoria or dysphoria, and anxiolysis or anxiogenesis. It all depends on the individual. The methylone chemical of insomnia and restlessness. Derealization/depersonalization, hallucinations, and psychosis are common effects. Other effects include tachycardia, hypertension, hyperthermia, sweating, mydriasis, nystagmus, trismus, bruxism, anorexia, nausea, and vomiting.

The ingredient methylone that is used in the bath salts drug acts as a mixed re-uptake inhibitor/ releasing agent of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine (mood chemicals in the brain). As far as its legal standing, the Netherlands has yet to list it under the Opium Law, but is covered under the medicine act. Methylone has been illegal in the United Kingdom since April 16, 2010. Sweden announced it as a harmful substance in 2007, but actively scheduled as a narcotic on September 21, 2010. October 21, 2011 was the date when the United states DEA released an emergency ban on methylone, one of the most common chemicals in bath salts. Among states it is banned in are Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas.


Mephedrone (4-MMC) is another active ingredient found in some bath salts drug products. It is also one of those chemicals that were banned from use. The amphetamine and cathinone classed synthetic stimulant drug referred to as meph, drone, and MCAT is allegedly manufactured in China and has similar compounds to cathinone found in the Khat plant found in eastern Africa. It comes in powder or tablet form and can be injected, swallowed, or snorted to give similar effects to amphetamines and cocaine.

Intended effects of mephedrone

This chemical can cause euphoria, stimulation, enhanced appreciation for music, high mood, decreased hostility, sexual and mental stimulation. Studies conclude that most people have had pleasant experiences using mephedrone alone, not with other chemicals inside bath salts. Some side effects include dilated pupils, lower attention span, teeth grinding, visual focus issues, short term memory troubles, delusional and erratic behavior. When overused it can cause paranoia, depression, sweating, appetite loss, rise in body temperature and heart rate, trouble breathing, and nose bleeds/burns (when snorted). Under extreme circumstances the user may have heart palpitations, blue fingers, vasoconstrictions, and seizures. Addiction is also possible along with psychotic episodes with long term use.


Deaths contributed to mephedrone

Sweden Death 2008

An 18 year old woman in Stockholm, Sweden died after using mephedrone, in which she went into convulsions and her face turned blue. While being treated, doctors confirmed she was comatose and suffered from hyponatremia along with severe hypokalemia. She would die just before 2 days after symptoms occurred. An autopsy discovered severe brain swelling.

United Kingdom 2010

By July of 2010, it was assumed that this chemical was the cause of 52 casualties, but found traces in only 38. Two deaths were linked directly to mephedrone. Stirling Smith, 46 years old, died after taking what was then a legal high, according to toxicology test results. He suffered from a heart attack in February of 2010 after taking the drug.

United States Death

Mephedrone has been link to a 22 year old man's death. The user also injected black tar heroin before he died. He had 0.50mg/L of mephedrone in his blood, along with 198mg/L concentrate within his urine.



Short for methylenedioxypyrovalerone, it's a psychoactive drug with stimulant properties that acts as a norepinephrine-dopamine re-uptake inhibitor (NDRI for short). It was first developed in 1969, but was beginning to be sold as a designer drug. Other names for it are MDPK, MTV, Magic, Maddie, Black Rob, Super Coke, PV and Peeve. The most common synthetic drug this stimulant can be found in is bath salts. The appearance comes in a crystal or powder form.

List of physiological/psychological effects

Rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, narrowed blood vessels, inability to sleep, stomach cramps and digestive problems, teeth grinding, rise in body temperature, chills, or sweating, pupil dilation, and headaches are common side effects of MDPV. Other effects include kidney pain, tinnitus, dizziness, over-stimulation, difficulty breathing, hypertonia, severe paranoia, confusion, psychosis, extreme anxienty (leading to violent behavior), and suicidal thoughts and/or actions. Physical symptoms may become worst and last after the drug use is over. This includes rhabdomyolysis, renal failure, high anion gap metabolic acidosis, liver and respiratory failure, and in some cases seizures.

Have you ever tried bath salts drug?

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