Drug Treatment News: New Detection Technology Saves Lives from “Bath Salts”

The synthetic drug, known as “Bath Salts” were made illegal in 2012. However, they have led thousands of emergency room visits, deaths, and injuries, all related to the drug. If an individual is saved before extensive harm from the drug, the need for drug detox and drug treatment may still be necessary.

Even though they are illegal, “Bath Salts” can still be found for sale at some retail shops, on the Internet and on the streets.  The name “Bath Salts” is a nickname given to different designer drugs, which is a recent trend in drug addiction. Designer drugs are those that are made to have similar effects as other illegal drugs, such as marijuana, but have been altered just enough to keep it legal. For instance, Spice is a designer drug of marijuana. The makers of designer drugs will continue to make alterations to the drug’s ingredients in order to stay one step ahead of the law.  Other names for these designer drugs are “Plant Food”, “Glass Cleaner”, and other inconspicuous names to keep them discreet. They are derived a stimulant in a plant called khat, with effects are similar to those of amphetamines. Users typically feel an initial sense of euphoria, but this is followed by unpredictable and potentially dangerous effects, including seizures and hallucinations.

Effects on the Mind and Body

In fact, Bath Salts can be even more damaging than cocaine. Its effects on the mind and body can be serious. For instance, Bath Salts affect the brain’s ability to process particular neurotransmitters effectively, resulting in an excessive amount of neurotransmitters, such as Dopamine and Norepinephrine. Although too much of these two neurotransmitters create the feeling of euphoria, it also leads to damaging effects such as rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, damage to the blood vessels, heart attack, heart failure, and a stroke. Other stimulants, such as cocaine, typically wear off relatively quickly; however the effect of Bath Salts can last up to four hours. Since bath salts first appeared in Europe and the United States, alarming reports emerged of users becoming violent.

Ways to Identify the Drug

For these reasons and more, researchers are looking for ways to prevent serious harm and drug addiction to other substances.  Although drug addiction is possible, it is the harmful effects of use of the drug that scientists aim to end. They have been searching for various ways to identify the drug. However, those methods were not portable. Another effort led to an electrochemical approach, which can be adapted for in-the-field use, but the technique involved the use of mercury which can be toxic. Researchers wanted to find a better, safer way to identify whether a person possessed or had been using “Bath Salts”.

Fortunately, researchers were able to develop a low cost and quick way of detecting the synthetic drug. In the future, the new detection method might be available for use in handheld sensors. This could be the first portable, on-site testing device for identifying the drugs. A report on the new technology was published in the journal titled Analytical Chemistry.

Drug Treatment for “Bath Salts”

The damaging effects of the drug, more severe than cocaine, might not only require drug treatment but also psychotherapy, drug counseling, and other forms of drug addiction therapy.  Furthermore, the regular use of “Bath Salts”, a synthetic form of amphetamines (with other dangerous substances often mixed in), an individual might require drug detox, as with other chronic uses of amphetamines, such as cocaine. For instance, with cocaine detox, there is often an initial crash, along with cravings for cocaine, mood changes, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and an increased appetite. One’s mood might move through feeling depressed, anxious, and irritable. In a way, the challenging moods experienced during drug detox is a compensation for the euphoria experienced while addicted to the drug.

Bath Salts are not a drug that is regularly discussed in the media. Yet, their effects are significantly harmful and dangerous.