Bath Salts: Six Myths Dispelled
If you had thought that bizarre, bath salts-related news would have subsided by now, you certainly would have thought wrong: Bath salts-dealing gangs are apparently a thing in Muncie, Indiana; Cops found a Utica man, reportedly under the influence of bath salts, hiding on the roof of his girlfriend's house; another bath salts-high Upstate man, discovered "covered in blood" by a deputy, tried to break his neighbor's door down with a broom; also, they are suspected in the case of a Missouri woman who recently bit her neighbor.
While we have made the case that bath salts are one of the drugs you should never, ever try, we still think it's our job to clear up some of the misinformation out there. That said, here are six myths about bath salts.
6. Bath Salts Are Cooked Up in Labs, Like Meth!
The bath salts supply chain doesn't much reflect an episode of Breaking Bad, nor your other run-of-the-mill stereotypes about American meth. Instead of coming from a lye and gasoline-soaked trailer lab in Missouri, for example, the ones on U.S. streets are made in China or Europe. But cops worry that crackdowns will prompt kitchen chemists to go the meth route and set up home-grown factories.
5. Bath Salts Are New
The active ingredients commonly found in bath salts -- methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, pyrovalerone, and methylone -- originated in 1920s France, where a chemist is said to have synthesized the first bath salts-like drug. However, some accounts claim that methylenedioxypyrovalerone was first cooked up in the U.S. in 1969. Whatever the case, they've been around for awhile, though their recreational use appears to have picked up significantly in 2004. This might be attributed to the work of a charlatan chemist, who reportedly published the recipe on a website at that time.
4. Bath Salts Are The Things You Put in a Bath
Don't laugh! The product's Coen Brothers-esque naming seems to throw off a lot of people. As the San Francisco Weekly reported, so many are confused about whether bath salts are cannibal-making drugs or for bathing that the San Francisco Bath Salt Company had to publicly set the record straight and explain the difference between the two. "The only 'highs' that you can achieve from our bath salts are the feelings of rejuvenation and relaxation," the company's president said. "If anything, someone getting high off these 'bath salt drugs' might need our bath salts to counteract the effects of the drug...and I assure you one thing: Our bath salts won't turn you into a zombie."
3. Bath Salts Were Never Used Medicinally
At one point in time, bath salts were used to treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and as appetite suppressants. However, our research doesn't seem to indicate current therapeutic use.
2. Bath Salts Are Easy To Get
OK, so this might depend on how you define "easy," but some media reports make it seem as if bath salts are in every bodega and head shop across America, which simply does not seem true. While there are surely stores which do sell bath salts marketed under other names such as "herbal incense" or "plant food," anecdotal evidence and our own reporting suggest that they're not as "absurdly" ubiquitous as some claim.
1. Bath Salts Are An Epidemic
Bath salts are a horrible, horrible drug, but they're not poised to ruin the country quite yet. Right now, stats indicate that prescription opiate abuse is a far bigger problem, with oxycodone surpassing car crashes as the top cause of accidental death.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.