Almost One-Fifth of Teens Who Try Bath Salts Are Frequent Users, Survey Finds

A new study finds while only about 1 percent of high school seniors say they have tried bath salts in the last year, almost one-fifth of those who tried it say they have taken the synthetic drug 40 times or more. The findings are published in The American Journal on Addictions.

There are now more than 70 varieties of bath salts in the United States, according to Newsweek. Bath salts, also known as synthetic cathinones, are continually being updated in labs to evade legislation that bans the substances.

The study, conducted by New York University researcher Joseph Palamar, is based on data about drug use among 8,600 teens nationwide. He found most teens who use bath salts also use alcohol or marijuana. Use of other drugs such as powder cocaine, LSD, crack and heroin was at least 10 times more prevalent among teens who used bath salts.

One-third of teens who used bath salts tried them only once or twice, the study found.

Bath salts are sold in powder form in small plastic or foil packages under various brand names. They are usually ingested by sniffing or snorting. They can also be taken orally, smoked, or put into a solution and injected into veins.

The short-term effects include very severe paranoia that can sometimes cause users to harm themselves or others. Effects reported to Poison Control Centers include suicidal thoughts, agitation, combative/violent behavior, confusion, hallucinations/psychosis, increased heart rate, hypertension, chest pain, death or serious injury. The speed of onset is 15 minutes, while the length of the high from these drugs is four to six hours. The long-term effects of bath salts are unknown.

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