Synthetic cathinones, commonly known as “bath salts,” are chemically made from synthetic compounds like 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, pyrovalerone and methylone. These synthetic ingredients are obtained from natural ingredients called cathinones, found in khat, a shrub grown in East Africa and the Middle East. Many people chew on the leaves to obtain a mild stimulating effect.
A family of designer drug stimulants, synthetic cathinones appear as white or brown small crystals packed in small plastic or foil bags concealed with labels like “laundry detergent,” “plant food,” or “jewelry cleaner.” This synthetic, mind-altering drug can be bought online or even from drug paraphernalia shops. It is often known as “Flakka,” “Bloom,” “Cloud Nine,” “Lunar Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” “White Lightning,” and “Scarface.” Cathinones can be snorted, smoked, injected or swallowed.
Bath salts, white powder or a crystalline substance, are chemically similar to cocaine, amphetamines and ecstasy. Synthetic cathinones are considered addictive, mind-stimulating psychoactive substances that are cheap substitutes for cocaine or ecstasy, making bath salts abuse a growing problem among young people.
Bath salts abuse
The last few years have seen a rapid increase in bath salts abuse. Considered to be addictive and dangerous, a number of active ingredients in bath salts have been banned by a majority of states and the federal government.
Bath salts work by stimulating the central nervous system and temporarily increasing the dopamine level. Its use causes heightened empathy, intense euphoric effects, an increased sense of alertness, heightened sexual stimulation and an increased awareness of the senses. What makes the abuse dangerous is the ever-changing chemical makeup of the drug that makes the effects completely unpredictable.