September 5, 2011

Busting Bath Salts

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Joseph V. Madia, MD By:

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Bath salts have the ability to cause euphoria paranoia anxiety and hallucinations

(dailyRx News) Bath salts are becoming more popular but not the kinds that are sprinkled into baths. Scientists have developed a test for these salts that might help law enforcement.

Bath salts are one of many new legal designer drugs that have swept the nation leading to deaths, emergency room visits and other problems.

Researchers found a new test that could trace the legal drug - ‘bath salt’ - back to its origin. This might help law enforcements and government officials keep the streets a little safer from drugs.

"Ensure you know what your kids are really taking."

There are many legal drugs that provide a similar high as illegal drugs, which is partly why they have become so popular. Common legal drugs are sold as “bath salts”, “plant food”, “incense”, “Ivory Wave”, “Red Dove” and “legal marijuana”. These drugs do not show up on current drug tests, which cause a potential problem.

Bath salts have the ability to cause euphoria (intense good feeling), paranoia, anxiety and hallucinations when snorted, smoked or injected. Sometimes the powder contains mephedrone – a synthetic plant compound that is illegal in many countries.

Normally, illegal drugs and their derivates are illegal, but bath salts escape legislation and restriction because they are labeled “not for human consumption”.

Oliver Sutcliffe, Ph.D., from the University of Strathclyde and James Hutton Institute in the United Kingdom, and colleagues discovered the isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) that can accurately pinpoint where the legal drug, specifically bath salt, came from. Other legal drugs have not been tested with this method.

This new method can trace the substance back to the raw material because the isotopic ratio is like a fingerprint, Sutcliffe explains. The fingerprint remains throughout the entire process so this new test can help law enforcement track down the bath salt manufacturers, he adds.

The research is presented at the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

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Reviewed by: 
Joseph V. Madia, MD
Review Date: 
September 1, 2011

Last Updated:
September 5, 2011