Emergency rooms have been seeing a whole new kind of addict lately. Abusers of bath salts become agitated, violent, and psychotic and require, as one might expect, a whole new kind of care.
The drug, which initiates a cocaine-like high, requires massive amounts of sedatives to offset its stimulating effects.
Dr. Jeffrey J. Narmi of Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, told the New York Times, There were some who were admitted overnight for treatment and subsequently admitted to the psych floor upstairs, adding that These people were completely disconnected from reality and in a very bad place.
Drug-induced psychosis is extremely common in abusers of stimulants such as cocaine and prescription drugs used for ADHD such as Adderall. Drug-induced psychosis can last up to four weeks. Unfortunately, however, the side effect persists for longer and some become diagnosed with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. When the person is not genetically predisposed to psychosis, antipsychotics can induce psychotic symptoms.
Bath salts became popular last year and their rates and willingness of abuse are rising. Doctors are alarmed, saying that the drug has unusually dangerous and long-lasting effects. Habitual drug users are attracted to the drug due to these long-lasting effects.
Bath salts can be snorted, injected, or smoked and contain stimulant compounds such as 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone or 4-methylmethcathinone, or mephedrone.
Bath salts have been banned in 28 states and are typically sold for $25 to $50 per 50-milligram packet.
American Association of Poison Control Centers said that poison control centers around the US have received 3,470 reports of bath salts in the first half on 2011, up from 303 in 2010.
A Pennsylvania police officer told the New York Times that one patient was only a small female, but it took four officers to hold her down, along with two orderlies.