Patients in Emergency Departments across the country have been presenting with overdoses of a fairly new drug called “Bath Salts” (psychoactive bath salts). Bath salt drugs actually have nothing to do with the chemicals that you may use in your bath, they are actually synthetic drugs (methylenedioxypyrovalerone, mephedrone and methylone). These chemicals inhibit norepinephrine–dopamine reuptake and act as central nervous system stimulant. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, these drugs can cause extreme sympathetic stimulation and profoundly altered mental status. “The sympathetic effects may include tachycardia, hypertension, hyperthermia, and seizures, and deaths have been reported. Altered mental status presents as severe panic attacks, agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, and violent behavior (e.g., self-mutilation, suicide attempts, and homicidal activity).”
Bath salts were legal until recently when the DEA made them illegal. As of September 7, 2011, possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them are both illegal in the United States for at least 1 year while the DEA and the US Department of Health and Human Service gathers more information. The DEA is using its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control bath salt drugs.
More information about this new law and about bath salts can be found at these links: