You've heard the expression, "Mom and Dad, lock your medicine cabinet if you've got teens in the house," so that you could avoid easy access of prescription drugs to your kids. Now, however, teens are turning to bath salts to get high-yes, you read correctly, bath salts.
There has been a lot of buzz recently about "bath salts" as the newest over-the-counter item teens are using to get high. "Bath salts" may look innocent, but their effects are powerful and mimic the effects of cocaine and LSD, causing extreme paranoia, delusions, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts, among other symptoms.
Teens are choosing to snort, inject and smoke these powders, which include Mephedrone and Methylenedioxyrovalerone (MDPV)-compounds very similar in structure to Methamphatamine. They are marketed as "bath salts" in order to throw law enforcement and parents off the trail.
These chemicals are sold legally in convenience stores and on the Internet as bath salts and even plant food-making them readily available to teens. MDPV and Mephedrone are made in a lab; however, they aren't regulated because they aren't for human consumption.
Bath salt or not, the synthetic powder-also known as Ivory Wave, Red Dove and Vanilla Sky-have been linked to an alarming number of ER visits across the state and the nation. At least 25 states have received calls about exposure. Louisiana leads with the greatest number of cases at 165, followed by Florida with 38 calls to its poison center so far in 2011.
Know that traditional bath salts that contain sodium chloride (sea salt) or magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) is not what users are looking for; so if that is in your home, you're safe. Also know that this past session, we passed legislation banning the distribution of K2 or Spice, but the list also included MVPD and mephedrone products.
But what's it going to be tomorrow? Melting light bulbs?
Whenever we cut off supply of a particular substance, young people, through their own creativity, have found new ways to get high.
Banning another drug won't be enough to protect our kids unless we look at the underlying causes of our teens' substance abuse. When addressing drug accessibility and use, it is important to take supply and demand into account, but we frequently focus too much on supply alone.
We all know that attempts to simply shut down the world's sources of drugs are not as successful as we would hope. Instead, we need to start focusing more on the demand, and examine the reasons so many individuals turn to drugs in the first place.