Bath salts, also known as, hurricane charley, ivory wave, monkey dust and vanilla sky are names for designer drugs containing synthetic cathinones which have effects similar to amphetamine and cocaine.[1][2][3] The white crystals resemble legal bathing products like epsom salts[1].


In the United Kingdom to avoid being controlled by the Medicines Act, designer drugs such as mephedrone have been described as "bath salts", or other misnomers such as "plant food" despite the compounds having no history of being used for these purposes.[4][5][6]

In the United States, similar descriptions have been used to describe mephedrone, methylone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV).[7][8] Combined with labeling that they are "not for human consumption", these descriptions are an attempt to skirt the Federal Analog Act which forbids drugs that are substantially similar to already classified drugs from being sold for human use.[9] Bath salts are the fastest spreading of the new synthetic drugs in the United States.[10]

In Canada, during the fall of 2012, MDPV will be categorized as a schedule I substance under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, placing it in the same category as heroin and cocaine. Methylone and mephedrone, are already illegal.[1]


Pharmacologically, bath salts contain at least one cathinone, typically methylenedioxypyrovalerone, methylone or mephedrone; however, the chemical composition varies widely.[1] The use of bath salts can lead to amphetamine dependence.[1]


Bath salts can be snorted, smoked, or injected.[1]

Health issues

Users of bath salts have experienced health issues including hallucinations, paranoia and violent behaviour,[11] heart attack, kidney failure, liver failure, suicide, and an increased tolerance for pain.[1]


Bath salts cannot be smelled by detection dogs[1] and will not be found in typical urine analyses[12], although they can be detected in urine analyses using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.[13] Distributors can camouflage the drug as everyday substances like, fertilizer or insect repellent.[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Black, Matthew (25 June 2012). What are 'bath salts'? A look at Canada's newest illegal drug. CBC News. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  2. Spiller, H. A.; Ryan, M. L.; Weston, R. G.; Jansen, J. (2011). "Clinical experience with and analytical confirmation of "bath salts" and "legal highs" (synthetic cathinones) in the United States". Clinical Toxicology 49 (6): 499–505. DOI:10.3109/15563650.2011.590812. PMID 21824061.  edit
  3. Coppola, M.; Mondola, R. (2012). "Synthetic cathinones: Chemistry, pharmacology and toxicology of a new class of designer drugs of abuse marketed as "bath salts" or "plant food"". Toxicology Letters 211 (2): 144–149. DOI:10.1016/j.toxlet.2012.03.009. PMID 22459606.  edit
  4. Consideration of the cathinones. Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (31 March 2010). Retrieved on 1 April 2010.
  5. "Police warning over 'bubble' drug". BBC News. 20 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  6. Reed, Jim (13 January 2010). "Clubbers are 'turning to new legal high mephedrone'". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-07-04. 
  7. Victoria Cumbow (2011-02-06). "Synthetic form of cocaine and methamphetamine being packaged as bath salts". The Huntsville Times. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 
  8. Reports: Miami 'zombie' attacker may have been using 'bath salts'. CNN (May 29th, 2012).
  9. Abby Goodnough and Katie Zezima (2011-07-16). "An Alarming New Stimulant, Legal in Many States". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  10. Bath salts hit U.S. communities 'like a freight train Sunday Gazette-Mail, October 2, 2011, Pam Louwagie]
  11. Dolak, Kevin (June 5, 2012). 'Bath Salts': Use of Dangerous Drug Increasing Across U.S.. ABC News. Retrieved on June 28, 2012.
  12. Winder, G. S.; Stern, N.; Hosanagar, A. (2012). "Are "Bath Salts" the next generation of stimulant abuse?". Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. DOI:10.1016/j.jsat.2012.02.003.  edit
  13. R. Baselt, Disposition of Toxic Drugs and Chemicals in Man, 9th edition, Biomedical Publications, Seal Beach, CA, 2011, pp. 992–993.

Stimulants (N06B)
Adenosine antagonists

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