Use of ‘poisonous’ bath salts as new recreational drugs ‘skyrocketing’

Bath salts, which are considered unsafe for human consumption, are increasingly being used as recreational drugs, US researchers say.

Despite being warned “not for human consumption” in packages, calls for bath salt poisoning incidents have skyrocketed, with 1,782 since January 2011 compared with 302 in all of 2010, said the American Association of Poison Control Centres.

The inexpensive powdery substances with benign names contain stimulants not detectable through drug screens.

However, they can produce a “high” along with increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and delusions, as experienced by the Oklahoma patient.

Treatment for ingesting these bath salts is sedation until the side effects wear off, along with supportive care.

Although currently federally unregulated, 26 states have made these substances illegal.

This new research was presented at CHEST 2011, the 77th annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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