Bath Salts: The New Drug Menace

Public domain image by C6451, from Wikipedia.

It’s official. Putting a Google Alert on “Designer Drugs” gets you way more salacious news hits than “lighter than air travel commercial applications.”

Furthermore, sometimes the local news just hands you a headline. Take “Bath Salts, The New Drug Menace.” It’s not April 1 yet, so it appears to be real. If I could make this stuff up, I’d be Donald P. Bellisario.

Scranton, Pennsylvania’s WNEP-16 has an article about a new “designer drug” being sold legally in their area:

For $40 a spoonful, some area stores peddle what some call a designer drug marketed as bath salts. A man who recently used them to get high knows the name is misleading.

“I doubt anybody took a bath in it,” said the man, who wants to be known as “Kenny,” which is not his real name. He is a recovering heroin addict who claims he was clean for two years. Then he snorted bath salts.

Owch! But wait, it gets better:

It is packaged as Vanilla Sky, Ivory Wave, Blue Silk,and Tranquility.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency claims chemists designed the bath salt substance “MDPV” to mimic the highs of cocaine and meth.

“Kenny” said he knows at least 20 people who use it.


Is it a coincidence that the pseudonym chosen for WNEP’s informant is the name of the guy who got so high on cat pee he got picked up by a chick with improbable hair, driving a flying Trans-Am?

But wait. This is no laughing matter. Kenny’s nightmare just gets worse and worse!

“I’m scared that I’m going back into addiction,” said “Kenny.” He added he recently came down after a bath salt high and felt suicidal. As a father, he fears he will lose his children, his wife, perhaps his life with one more slip up. When asked how hard is it going to be to avoid bath salts, he responded, “It’s going to be extremely hard. It’s not going to be possible.”

…Earlier this week a bill written to make synthetic marijuana illegal in Pennsylvania was amended to include bath salts.

The city of Scranton is not waiting. Mayor Chris Doherty is drafting legislation to make the sale and possession of bath salts illegal in the city limits.


Obviously, Mayor Doherty needs to read his Constitution.

Doesn’t he to realize that when bath salts are outlawed, only outlaws will have bath salts? Does he want us to go back to using Mr. Bubble? If we did that, how would we law-abiding citizens supposed to cling to our guns and our God long enough to riddle crazed, bath-salts-snorting muggers with hollow-points? How the hell are we supposed to hold on to a fowling piece without the softer, younger-looking skin bath salts can help us achieve?

In case you don’t know it, is the place to go for information on recreational drugs. It’s far more reliable than this dude Mike you know who wants you to smoke banana peels. It’s the bible for all things that involve stories about watching your hand go whub-whub-whub in front of your face for six hours while your girlfriend makes out with a lava lamp and this weird chick named Sharon from Fresno pours half & half on your malt balls from last Halloween and eats them like cereal while this other guy Thad keeps trying to pick up on her but it turns out he’s actually been talking to a life-sized Crusty The Clown blow-up doll and only thought it was Sharon because he can’t take his sunglasses off or his eyes will pop out of his head.

Here’s what Erowid has to say about MDPV:

MDPV is an uncommon stimulant with a short history of human use. It is known for its tendency to cause compulsive redosing and some users report sexual arousal as an effect.

Not too extensive, eh? They do also have a link to a 2008 abstract that, if you’re, like, an organic chemist, might make some kind of sense to you (it sure as hell doesn’t to me). The second abstract, from 2010, is from the UK and is far more instructive. There’s somewhat more concise scientific information about the drug at Wikipedia.

But as with everything on Erowid, the truly fucked-up weirdness starts when you hear from the users. For example, this guy relates his adventures with a refried-bean-smeared drug orgy on MDPV:

00:00 – I snorted 4 mg of the MDPV, not independently tested for purity, but acquired through a trusted source. Then, I went about my business preparing a dish of Chiles Rellenos with refried beans for a dinner I planned to enjoy fully with my girlfriend, and a batch of home-made granola to take to a post-party breakfast with research associates on the weekend. The snow-white powder was sticky and difficult to cut, and kept sticking to the blade … insufflation yielded little to no burn to the nose.

The come on was slower than expected, and subtle, and didn’t fully develop until about the half hour point. I felt a mild euphoria, lightness in the head, and a bit speedy, but in a good way, wanting to get things done, rather than jittery and jumpy. Not a lot of feelings throughout the body, but rather in the head. Generally I was pleased, but unimpressed by the 45 minute point, so I measured up another 4 mg, and snorted it with glee and determination as I took a short break from measuring ingredients for my granola.

01:00 – The effects are getting more pronounced, but not much has changed in terms of overall effects. Still a pleasant euphoria, but nothing worth getting too excited about. I find myself well able to continue on with my cooking, but occasionally find myself stopping to focus on the Eddie Vedder CD playing in the background. I can stay very focused on any given thing, but not necessarily many things at once. It is Eddie Vedder, or the Granola, but clearly not both.

01:00 – The refried beans are simmering on the stove and filling the air in my home with a pleasant aroma of basil, thyme, and of course, beans. Not exactly traditional Mexican, but I assure you … they’re good. I take a break from cooking to craft some necessary emails to friends regarding the coming weekend, and type some of this report. My creative writing skills are definitely enhanced, and I am sincerely enjoying the process of recording my thoughts to virtual paper. This is a good study aid perhaps, beneficial to writing research papers … or murder mysteries, or sci-fi novels … or rallying cries against our out-of-control government.

01:30 – No doubt, both doses are now fully developed, and have been so for several minutes. Apart from the effects being somewhat stronger than before, the experience is still rather mild. I am however, finding myself motivated to get things done. We’re not talking about organizing my sock drawer or anything, but certainly more motivated to cook rather than sit on the couch.


It’s certainly easy to understand why drugs are so hard to kick; I mean, who can give up that kind of glamorous lifestyle?

On the other hand, this unfortunate gent had paranoid delusions on MDPV, after taking rather a lot of it. This person found it wickedly addictive. This one had “An Adventure in Euphoria and Tachycardia.” (Tachycardia is a rapid heart rate). You can also find out all about what false-positives MDPV does or does not cause on drug tests.

Erowid’s documentation of MDPV isn’t extensive — there’s a total of 17 trip reports, which is tiny compared to some of the other drugs represented there. But it’s one of the only places to get first-hand information about the drug without making the insides of your own nostrils silky-smooth.

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