Posts Tagged bath salts addiction
It sounds like a harmless product, but don’t let the heavenly name of Cloud 9 fool you.
Cloud 9 is a drug that is gaining popularity among teenagers. The product is actually bath salts mostly sold in liquid form for use in e-cigarettes. Much like any other bath salt product, Cloud 9 contains the active component methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), a substance that has exceedingly higher hallucinogenic effects than meth or cocaine.
The liquid drug is easy to procure in some retail stores, but is usually purchased online fairly easily. This convenient access to Cloud 9 bath salt poses a real danger to the young generation, based on a report by Inquisitr about more than 20 teenagers hospitalized as a result of taking bath salts within this year.
The drug’s meteoric rise to infamy stems from the fact that aside from its availability, it can mimic the euphoric effects of popular illicit drugs such as coke, meth, LSD and ecstasy. Immediate health risks arising from use of Cloud 9 and other similar bath salts include high blood pressure, irritability, nausea, dizziness, faster heart rate, and delusions. Meanwhile, some of the long-term effects are depression, neglect of commitments, and violent tendencies.
Other names of bath salts aside from Cloud 9 include Bubbles, Hookah Relax, and Purple Wave. Many of these products are sealed in packages that circumvent existing drug prohibition laws by labeling the substance “not for human consumption.”
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New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on August 7 the new regulations aimed at cracking down the widespread use of bath salts and other synthetic drugs.
The new regulations were issued by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and approved by the Public Health and Health Planning Council to expand the existing list of prohibited drugs and chemicals to include dozens more substances that are now used to make synthetic drugs. The effort attempts to better ensure that distributors can no longer skirt the law by simply modifying the drug’s ingredients.
Part of the regulations is placing sanctions to owner of an establishment and/or an employee caught selling synthetic drugs, as well as increasing the criminal penalties for people who violate the rules. Fines of up to $500 and possible 15-day imprisonment will be imposed to violators.
“Bath salts and other synthetic drugs pose a direct, serious threat to public health and safety, and we must do everything we can to remove these harmful substances from sale and distribution in New York,” Governor Cuomo said.
According to the news release from the Governor’s Press Office, there has been an alarming increase in the number of New Yorkers using bath salts over the past year. In 2011, there were 39 reported emergency room visits in upstate New York as a result of bath salts. In 2012, 191 emergency room visits have so far been recorded — 120 of which occurred this past June and July. Meanwhile, as of 2011, there were 291 calls concerning synthetic marijuana poisonings, a big leap from the 20 calls received in 2010.
Governor Cuomo added that the regulations announced “attack the problem by helping our law enforcement officers enforce the rules, expanding the list of banned substances used to manufacture bath salts, and imposing tougher penalties so those who sell these drugs are held accountable.”
Tests are being developed at the University of Strathclyde to possibly identify manufacturers of designer drugs which are being sold legally.
The drugs, sporting brands such as “ivory wave” or “NRG-1,” are being sold as commonly known bath salts, yet they mimic the same effects of dangerous drugs like cocaine and amphetamines. As of today, there is no comprehensive testing method that will detect illegal substances on bath salts, allowing manufacturers to market them legally.
This is why researchers from the James Hutton Institute and at Strathclyde are developing ways to identify the sources of the raw materials used in making these substances which they believe will also pinpoint the people behind the manufacture of the dangerous bath salts.
The study is being done at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences headed by Dr. Oliver Sutcliffe.
“The new method we have used has enabled us to work backwards and trace the substances back to their starting materials. IRMS measures the relative amounts of an element’s different forms- it is successful because these relative amounts are transferred like a fingerprint through the synthesis of the drug,” Dr. Sutcliffe said.
Dr. Sutcliffe’s team had previously created the first pure reference standard for mephedrone which could be very helpful to other law enforcement labs in identifying the same from submitted samples of designer drugs in their areas.
The project was presented at 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society held in Denver.
The team also shared their comprehensive screening method for 16 other known prohibited substances being sold legally in the market using the gas chromatographic analysis.
Bath salts often contain mephedrone which gives users a feeling of euphoria, anxiety, and hallucinations just like illicit drugs do. The substance has already been banned in many countries.
Gov. Bob McDonell of Virginia has recently signed a bill that made bath salts illegal. All synthetic drugs are now prohibited in the state and bath salts, in particular, will no longer be available in convenience stores where it’s highly accessible especially for teenagers.
These substances give the same high as other illegal drugs do. Unknown to many, this drug could be fatal.
This is why a Christian Based Program called Eastern Appalachia Teen Challenge was formed to help save lives of young people who have become hooked on bath salts and other drugs. Most teenagers think that bath salts are safe to use and a better alternative than marijuana and alcohol. In the program, teens are guided to be able to recover from drug abuse or alcohol addictions, as well as eating disorders, through a methodology based on Christian values.
Lisa Cox, the director for the Teen Challenge Program, gives a clear picture of how they help troubled teenagers. “When they get here and they begin to sleep regularly and work out, they’re getting back into a routine of school and eating like they should be. Getting encouragement and being able to talk about their problems,” Cox said according to wsls.com.
Since Gov. McDonnell signed the new rule, possessing even small amounts of bath salts could mean time in jail for those who are in Virginia. The state has taken this bold step in the hopes of discouraging people, especially teens, in engaging in activities involving the now prohibited substance. Possession of bath salts is now a misdemeanor act, distribution a felony, and manufacturing a violation that could mean 30 years in prison.
The law enforcement group has been alarmed of the influx of highly hallucinogenic and potentially lethal drugs sold legally in most states, and these come in the form of bath salts.
Director Mark Ryan of the Louisiana Poison Center confirmed that in the first month of 2011, an estimated 248 bath salts-linked calls from 25 different states have been received by authorities. This figure is indeed a cause for alarm. Comparing data to last year, only 234 calls were made in the whole of 2010.
Investigators have uncovered the circulation of $20 packets sold in corner stores, truck stops, and even on the Internet. They are marketed as bath salts or at times plant food that carries disclaimers such as “not for human consumption” and with no regulating body or rules applied on these substances. The problem is that these chemicals contain stimulants, including mephedrone.
Jeffrey Baldwin, professor of pharmacy practice and pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha has this to say on mephedrone: “It’s a derivative that’s very similar to amphetamines, and its side effects are largely the same side effects we see with amphetamines in large dose. Those side effects would be increased heart rate and blood pressure, not sleeping, not eating and eventually becoming paranoid.”
The “bath salts” have acquired brand names like Ivory Wave and Vanilla Sky which is typically smoked, injected, snorted, and can be mixed in water or other liquids as beverage. “If you take the very worst of some of the other drugs — LSD and Ecstasy with their hallucinogenic-delusional type properties, PCP with extreme agitation, superhuman strength and combativeness, as well as the stimulant properties of cocaine and meth — if you take all the worst of those and put them all together this is what you get. It’s ugly.” added Director Ryan.