Bath Salts

Get the Scoop on the Zombie Drug Responsible for That Feeling of Impending Doom


Submit Infographics is proud of its new text-and-picture thingie about "The Bath Salt Epidemic," and with good reason: It crams an impressive amount of nonsense into a small space. Speaking of cramming, did you know that the stimulants sold as bath salts "can be consumed" both "rectally" and "vaginally"? It must be true, because look at all the government agencies that say so. Of course, vodka also "can be consumed" rectally or vaginally, although there is not much evidence that it actually is. However often people take their bath salts and shove them, the idea clearly tickled the folks at Submit Infographics, who illustrate these modes of administration with a stylized butt and crotch.

The infographic, on display at eDrug Rehab (which would be happy to create a tailored "treatment plan" for your bath-salt-abusing loved one), begins "the scoop on these dangerous designer drugs" with two dangling modifiers in quick succession:

Known to most as the "zombie drug," bath salt abuse is quickly reaching epidemic levels. Easier to obtain than most illicit drugs, as well as alcohol and tobacco, bath salt use is only going to continue increasing. 

Here's a fun fact that did not make the infographic: If bath salts are known as the "zombie drug," it's because a guy committed a crime so bizarre and horrible that people said he must have been under the influence of bath salts. Except that he wasn't.

An alert reader might notice that the infographic declares a "bath salt epidemic" in the headline, then immediately backtracks, saying the epidemic is not quite here yet. How will we know when it arrives, especially in the absence of numbers indicating how many people are using these drugs? What exactly does "epidemic" mean in this context? Do bath salts move surreptitiously from person to person, jumping up the noses of unwitting victims? Let's not get bogged down in the details; the main point is that "bath salt use is only going to continue increasing," so this is a growth opportunity for eDrug Rehab.

The infographic says "the effects [of bath salts] are similar to [those of] amphetamines, ecstasy, or cocaine." In other words, bath salt users "generally appear" "panicked," "delusional," "sweaty," "angry," and "twitchy." No wonder these drugs are so popular.

Having declared that people who consume bath salts (as well as amphetamines, ecstasy, or cocaine) usually experience negative effects, the infographic implicitly retracts that statement, warning us about what can happen "when a high takes a wrong turn": One young man slit his throat, then shot himself in the head for good measure. Your results may vary, but you might want to lock up the guns and knives if you plan to consume bath salts, just in case. You should also be alert to the "symptoms of a dangerous high," which include "extreme paranoia," "severe hallucinations," and "feeling a presence of 'pure evil' or impending doom." I hear you can avoid these symptoms if you take your bath salts rectally or vaginally.

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  1. “extreme paranoia,” “severe hallucinations,” and “feeling a presence of ‘pure evil’ or impending doom.”

    Reminds me of the time I ate a bunch of mushrooms and went rafting down the river.

    1. Yeah, I once ate a giant mushroom and had a terrifying, seemingly real vision of a demon peering into my soul and laughing at what he saw. Good times.

    2. A drug that simulates being a libertarian in the Capitol? Not for me, thanks.

  2. You know, while I generally agree that all drugs should be legal, that doesn’t mean all drugs are equivalent and can all be used responsibly. The notion that some easy-to-get, widely used drug results in excessively destructive behavior shouldn’t be patently written off or scoffed at.

    Bath salts, like other synthetics like meth and crack before them, seem especially destructive and can cause particularly manic behavior, according to accounts of doctors and police that have dealt with people on them. There’s no question there’s some media exaggeration, but anecdotal evidence suggests large degrees of difference between bath salts and, say, weed.

    1. Whether or not a drug can be used responsibly ultimately depends on the user, not the drug.

      1. To some degree, but it’s also impossible to simply write off the chemical effects of the drug itself on the mind and body. Sure, every drug user could voluntarily lock themselves in a padded room with nothing around to hurt themselves with and go hogwild without harming anyone else, but that doesn’t mean the drug is safe.

        It’s the same with weapons. Most responsible people could handle a handgun or rifle without killing themselves or someone else. That doesn’t mean they’d be just as safe carrying homemade nuclear warheads and playing with sarin gas.

        1. i don’t think any drug is equivelent to sarin gas or nuclear warheads. A gun is a tool misused can cause lots of external destruction. A drug is a tool when misused causes lots of internal destrction. To say that it causes people to do bad things is to deny the responsibility of that person and I do not believe someone can be deemed to “not” be responsible because they were on a drug.

    2. But you are focusing on the shiny object of the moment, the magician’s waving hand. It is not the oh-so-scary “bath salts” but the coercion and utter fraudulence of the bs WoD. This is the type of thing that dismays me to no end. Just read again what Sullum wrote. He is way to “reasonable” in his commentary. Is there anything more grotesque and disgusting than the intellectual dishonesty, thuggish obstinacy, pigheaded religious prudishness, invasive assholery, and meddling, interfering, fascistic, violent buttinskyism of the political class’s puffed-up bullshit War On Drugs? Maybe there is, but the pervasive dishonesty of smug drug warriors and politicians should provoke revulsion.

      1. As much as I agree with all of that, there is still something of a tendency I’ve noticed amongst anti-drug warriors to err too far in the opposite direction and claim that every drug is perfectly safe if only the user is responsible and than any outrage over or disdain for a certain drug is the same as nanny statism.

        1. Dosage matters. There are safe levels of any drug, but when they are made illegal, people tend to ramp up the reward of the drug to match the risk they are taking, amplifying the scariness to everyone else. A coca leaf chewed is a fairly mild stimulant. Crystallized into a pure powder and snorted by the gram…well…goddamn. Similarly with opium. Opium dens did not have the repuation for violence local bars had in the early 20th century. Almost all drugs could be dosed to relatively safe amounts. The drug war pushes them away from safety though.

          1. Oh, we’re totally in agreement. I doubt bath salts and meth would exist without the drug war, and agree that the illegal nature worsens both abuse and consequences.

            But my point is that if a drug is particularly bad news, the media should still report on this fact – it’s useful information, provided that it is accurate and not hyperbolic. There is even nothing inherently wrong with ad campaigns trying to dissuade people from using it. At the same time, we should be careful about writing off every startled warning or anecdote as unjustified hyperbole.

            1. Its hard to know if a drug is really bad news or not because no media station would ever dare underestimate a threat. That knob goes to 11 and damned if they’re not going to crank it as high as possible. There are good journalists out there that carefully investigate, study and report. None work for a local or national news network. They’d be fired for taking so much time on a story.

              1. As my mom always rightly says, “good journalism is expensive.”

    3. I agree with you that bath salt (MDPV) is pretty damned evil. I can’t imagine why anyone in the world would ever take it, except that it was legal and available as an alternative to less evil drugs like coccaine.

      Hell, meth is evil, but even meth looks gentle and polite compared to MDPV.

      That stuff is nasty and even half of the speed freaks who have taken it hate the stuff.

      That is MDPV though, a drug that only exists because coccaine and meth are illegal.

    4. We’re from the government and we’re here to help. What do you want banned now?

  3. and “feeling a presence of ‘pure evil’ or impending doom.”

    I get that feeling whenever Warren is in a thread.

  4. I like the story of Dickie Sanders – it just sounds much more like a case of bad parenting:…..ed_st.html

    If my kid slit his throat, he would be in the hospital in a psych ward…not “eh, fuck it he will be fine, he missed his carotid – he can sleep it off on the couch…”

  5. “Known to most as the “zombie drug,” bath salt abuse is quickly reaching epidemic levels.”

    Pfft. Call me when its a PANdemic. Epidemics are so 1990s.

    1. When it’s a pandemic, you’ll already be “panicked,” “delusional,” “sweaty,” “angry,” and “twitchy,”, so it will be too late.

  6. “feeling a presence of ‘pure evil’ or impending doom.”

    Ask Jose Guerena about this.

    1. I can’t forget Jose Guerena either.

      1. just in case, here’s the Balko article

        Jose Guerena Killed: Arizona Cops Shoot Former Marine In Botched Pot Raid…..67020.html

  7. I’m confused. I used to buy bath salts to use in actual baths, at one point. Somehow they fell out of fashion and you couldn’t get them at Bath and Body Works anymore.

    So my question is: Was I missing out on some kind of high, or are these “bath salts” actually a totally different substance?

    1. I was told that epsom bubble bath salts are not at all related to “bath salts” which aren’t at all related. Nobody is using epsom salts to get high. Its labeling as “bath salts” is purely a decoy measure. Bathing with “bath salts” would be useless.

      1. I was under the impression that this stuff was being sold legally in head shops labeled as bath salts, though. Which suggests that the original purpose was actually as bath salts until someone figured out you could get high from it.

  8. If it’s “pure evil or impending doom” you’re after then just talk to an insurance salesman.

  9. is this a mental illness? it changes the brain–so it must be according to the APA! Rubish!

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