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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

What Chemical Is in "Bath Salts"?

By June 7, 2012

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You may have heard the term "bath salts" in the context of a recreational drug, as opposed to the stuff you add to an actual bath. What are bath salts? The bathtub kind of bath salts are scented Epsom salts or magnesium sulfate. The designer drug type of bath salts usually are MDPV, or methylenedioxypyrovalerone. This designer drug is a stimulant, but it's considered extremely dangerous because in addition to raising pulse rate and blood pressure, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke, it is associated with causing paranoia and thoughts of suicide, which persist for days after drug use.

Why are the drugs called bath salts? It's just a street name, originally intended to keep the drugs under the radar. They don't particularly look like bath salts except that most purified amphetamines are crystalline, like a salt.

Photo: Aura is one of the brand names of "bath salts". This is a DEA photo of bath salts that were confiscated during an arrest.

More Bath Salts Facts


July 25, 2012 at 2:56 am
(1) Nobody Atall says:

It also makes people eat each others faces ):

July 27, 2012 at 9:26 pm
(2) Right says:

Wrong. MDPV is not included in bath salts, at least in the United States. MDPV was put under emergency ban in October, and the chemicals included in bath salts are always strictly legal. There’s a variety of chemicals that can be in bath salts.

There’s an endless number of them, but the most common ones are the fluoridated amphetamines, the cathinone analogs, and the substituted methylenedioxyamphetamines. Of course there are plenty of other ones, and naming them all would be only a little easier than banning them all.

August 1, 2012 at 8:53 am
(3) Turk says:

Actually the officials working the face eating case concluded that the face eater in question was not on Bath Salts. He had just come from a party where he had taken massive amounts of PCP, which is known to cause insane roid-rage-esque bouts of violence. PCP is also known to cause intense hallicunations and paranoia. The said cannibal probably thought that the homeless man he was eating was a particularly aggressive orange or something. Either way, stay off bath salts. Its not a benign drug by any means. Im just surprised they were legal for so long.

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