They’ve been causing confusion and concern for months now. Finally, in the wake of a growing number of overdose visits to emergency departments, the US Drug Enforcement Agency is officially making psychoactive bath salts (PABS) a controlled substance.
Seeing the immediate danger of these incorrectly named drugs, the DEA made the decision to use its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control methylenedioxypyrovalerone and two other synthetic stimulants: mephedrone and methylone.
Just what does that mean for convenience stores and other retailers who had been selling these chemicals, often to teens who are eager to experiment without any thought to the consequences? As of September 7, 2011, possessing and selling these chemicals or products that contain them is illegal in the US. This will be the case for at least one year, giving the DEA and the US Department of Health and Human Services time to consider whether the substances should be permanently controlled.
“This imminent action by the DEA demonstrates that there is no tolerance for those who manufacture, distribute, or sell these drugs anywhere in the country, and that those who do will be shut down, arrested, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart, said in a statement.
What led the DEA to determine that these so-called “bath salts” were a growing threat to the public? In the last six months, the DEA has received increasing reports from poison centers, hospitals and police involving one or more of these now-controlled substances.
The drugs have grown in popularity because of their easy availability and low cost. In addition, the product’s labeling as bath salts made them seem innocuous and even harmless. Users claim the drug provides a high similar to that of methamphetamine. PABS are also known as “alertness enhancers” or aphrodisiacs and are sometimes called “legal cocaine.”
Despite their name, these bath salts aren’t used in the tub. PABS are taken orally, nasally, intravenously or even rectally. Doses as low as 3 to 5 mg will produce an effect, but the average dose ranges from 5 to 20 mg, making the risk for overdose high because packages can contain up to 500 mg. Bath salts also can be cut with other psychoactive substances, making it harder for ER doctors to determine a cause of overdose and know how to properly treat it.
Dangerous Effects of PABS
The physical effects of PABS are diverse and dangerous, including tachycardia, hypertension, arrhythmias, hyperthermia, seizures, stroke, myocardial infarction and even death. Behavioral and mental effects include panic attacks, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, psychosis, aggressive or violent behavior (such as self-mutilation, suicide attempts and homicidal activity), insomnia, anorexia and depression.
This latest move by the DEA isn’t likely to completely stop the use of bath salts altogether, but it should definitely curb usage of this dangerous substance and keep it from leading to new cases of drug addiction.
If you or someone you love is battling an addiction to PABS or any drug addiction, call The Oaks at La Paloma at our toll-free number. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.
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