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Bath Salts

Bath salts are a relatively new designer drug that has become prevalent in communities across the U.S. Bath salts containing methyldioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and mephedrone were first noted in Europe in 2004. Many European countries have banned these substances.

Sold at convenience stores, truck stops and online, bath salts are snorted, smoked, injected or mixed with water and ingested. These products are typically sold in small packages that cost $15-$50 per package. The substance in the package usually has a powder appearance, but some appear as crystals.

Bath salts have stimulant properties that can produce very serious side effects:

  • Effects on the heart: High blood pressure, fast heart rate, abnormal heart rhythm
  • Effects on the brain: Hallucinations, agitation, tremors, seizures
  • Effects on the lung: Fast breathing, acute lung injury if severely poisoned
  • Effects on organs and electrolytes: Low blood sodium (which can cause seizures and/or brain swelling), high blood sugar, muscle breakdown, injury to kidneys, injury to liver
  • Effects on temperature: Very high temperatures may occur, high enough to cause organ damage and heat stroke
  • Behavioral: Anxiety, paranoia and suicidal ideation
  • Death can occur when using bath salts

On July 22, 2011, then-Governor Pat Quinn banned synthetic drugs marketed in bath salts in Illinois. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency used emergency powers to add the chemicals in bath salts as Controlled Dangerous Substances under Schedule I drugs. The possession, manufacturing or distribution of bath salts will carry penalties similar to those of heroin, which could mean up to 30 years in prison.