Bath salts, just one of many synthetic substances to have flooded the market in the United States over the past few years, have been wreaking more and more havoc in communities as use of the drug grows. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) conducted a study that found that more than 23,000 emergency room visits across the country were directly caused by use and abuse of bath salts in 2011 alone.
According to the report:
- 33 percent of the 23,000 ER visits were caused by use of bath salts alone
- 15 percent were caused by a combination of bath salts abuse and abuse of marijuana or synthetic marijuana
- 52 percent of the visits were caused by use of bath salts combined with the use of other illicit substances.
Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz is chief Medical officer of SAMHSA. In an agency news release, Dr. McCance-Katz said, “Although bath salts drugs are sometimes claimed to be legal highs or are promoted with labels to mask their real purpose, they can be extremely dangerous when used.”
Despite the growing use and abuse of these drugs, many are still in the dark about what they are, how they’re used, and what to do if they identify their abuse in their loved ones.
Here are a few facts:
- Bath salts are sold, often legally, online, in head shops, and on the shelves of some truck stops – in states where their sale has not been banned completely.
- There are thousands of different versions of these drugs and their chemical makeup is always changing in order to stay one step ahead of federal bans and restrictions.
- Their legality does not mean that they are safe to use or that their production is in any way monitored or approved. They are only legal because they have not yet been banned.
- The drugs may be swallowed, inhaled or injected.
- Many people who abuse these substances have experienced serious medical emergencies; developed extreme mental health problems including psychosis; exhibited erratic behavior that has led them to harm others, themselves, or get arrested; and some of have died.
Treatment Can Help
Though abuse of synthetic drugs like bath salts is a relatively new phenomenon, dependence or chronic abuse can be treated much like addiction to any illicit substance. How? Medically monitored detox, intensive therapy, and long-term aftercare support can all work to help an addicted person address underlying issues, learn new coping mechanisms, and rebuild their lives.
Call us at Black Bear Lodge today to enroll your loved one in our evidence-based recovery program and help them get their life back on track now.