Categories
Addiction

Bath Salts Jeopardy and Zombies

night_of_the_living_dead_3

I’ll take drug names for one hundred.

This synthetic, psychoactive drug with a chemical structure similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline was first synthesized by a German company in 1912, developed in 1969, and was put on schedule 1 of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act in 2011.

Ummm..what is methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDVA)?

Correct!

Let’s go with drug names for two hundred.

MDMA is commonly known as this product used to soothe minor aches and pains through soaking the skin and releasing a pleasing aroma.

What is bath salts?

Bath salts is correct!

Today, bath salts no longer conjure up associations with pleasant stress-reducing rejuvination, relaxation, and soft skin, but rather tales of super-human strength paranoid zombie flesh eaters who growl like wild animals. Here are first hand descriptions from some of my patients who recently dabbled with these designer drugs.

I stayed up for 48 hrs straight.  I had so much energy.  I felt alive.  How could legal plant food make me feel so great?  Then things went bad, I got paranoid, I thought my friends were backstabbing me. I went ballistic, I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I was messed up.  I wanted to hurt someone, anyone.  It nearly destroyed me.  I remember the cops came, cuffed me. They told me I barked like a dog. My heart was pounding so freakin’ hard, I was sure I was about to die. It took three big dudes to restrain me. I was unaware, I was hot. I ripped off all my clothes and panted.  I had time distortion. Voices were screaming, yelling all around me. I saw weird ghosts, demons. I was sure I was in hell.

screamin driftwood

Widely available in smoke shops, convenience stores, and specialty stops, MDMA is packaged as incense, plant food, insect repellant, potpourri and clearly labeled with warnings of not for human consumption.  Yet teens and young adults recognize these products from their many attractive names – Ivory Wave, Vanilla Sky, Bliss, Amped, Tranquility, Zoom, Red Dove, Legal Phunk, and Hurricane Charlie.  Talk on the streets is this designer drug is no different that caffeine, a stimulant that will energize, animate, and will serve as the perfect compliment to a weekend party. Sure thing, if your idea of a good time includes a trip to the Psyche-ED for treatment of mania, disturbing hallucinations, and intrusive paranoia.

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Sounds similar to LSD, but LSD is a hallucinogentic, while MDMA is a stimulant (similar to cocaine and crystal meth). Bath salts have been eaten, smoked, injected, inserted rectally, inhaled, snorted.  When it reaches the brain it produces stimulation, alertness, euphoria, sensory awareness, and often hallucinations. But along with the desired effect, comes the undesirables….elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, panic attacks, paranoia, and psychosis. Reliable sources tell me that for every ten people who try a bath salt, one person will experience a psychotic nightmare, one that will take a very long time to recover from.  This person was one who had a propensity for mental illness and the drug was the ignitor that turned that illness switch on.  Another one or two out of the ten will crave that nasty drug like walkers crave flesh. That insatiable appetite that results in addiction.

Zombie_mob_participant

Bath salts have virtually been eliminated from the western NY drug market. Lately, when I do a drug history with new patients and ask if they do bath salts they look at me  with horror, and tell me their stories.

Hey-thanks for reading. I’m Kathy, wife to Gary, and mom to three teenage sons. I’ve been a family nurse practitioner since 1991 and currently practice in addiction medicine. I also negotiate clinical placements for APN grad students. We’re home schoolers with a dash of un-schooling. My most memorable celebrity patient: the Munchkin Coroner from the Wizard of Oz.

By Kathy

I am a Nurse Practitioner from Rochester, NY presently working in both the inpatient and outpatient hospital psychiatric settings.