When a new drug comes out, there is a general narrative pattern that takes place. First, there is the explosion in the number of people using the drug. It becomes more well-known and widely available to users. Next is the demonization of the substance. Allegations, mostly unfounded, are made about the effects of the substance and how it can harm individuals. The third thing that occurs with new drugs is what happens when the mainstream media gets ahold of the story. In order to get ratings, these news organizations need to sensationalize stories as much as possible. This does not always lead to an accurate representation of what a drug actually does to users. After the hype machine is in full swing comes the crackdown. Government officials, in order to seem tough on drugs and concerned for the safety of citizens, race to be the first to say that such and such drug should be banned and that whoever is caught using or selling it should be locked up. Bath salts, the newest drug craze to garner the nation’s collective attention, is about to enter the crackdown phase.
What They Are
The term “bath salts” is misleading a lot of people to think that these drugs refer to the salts that are commonly put in actual baths for relaxation purposes. In reality, bath salts merely mean a drug that has combined two different stimulants. Usually, MDPV and mephedrone are the substances combined to create the bath salts that are sold, over the counter, at local gas stations and smoke shops around the country. The appeal of these drugs is that they are seen as a legal alternative to cocaine or ecstasy. They are viewed by many users as the perfect alternative to pricey street drugs, which can be dangerous to procure. Bath salts can be purchased from the comfort of your own home with a credit card and a few clicks of the mouse.
One of the main problems with bath salts is that regulators do not know what is in them. Manufacturers of the drugs are sneakily labeling their products as “not safe for human consumption”. This allows them to skirt FDA regulation. However, the media has made the government very aware of how these drugs pose a serious danger to the collective health of those who use them. In moderation, there is nothing in the chemicals of bath salts that would cause a sane individual to cannibalize another. Yet, this is exactly what the government and media would have you believe. Since the gruesome incident in Miami, where an individual who was reportedly on bath salts (though no autopsy had been done) attacked and ate the face of a homeless man, the media has created a firestorm of stories demonizing bath salts.
It is certainly important that more education and research is done on any new drug that comes out that appears to be dangerous. Bath salts obviously fall into this category, and should not be taken by any individual over the counter. They have led to many people being administered to hospitals and poison control centers across the country. The scary part about this is that doctors and medical professionals have no idea how to treat these people, because they do not know what is actually in the drugs. It is vital that an individual with an addiction to bath salts receive immediate medical intervention at an intensive, outpatient drug rehab facility.