Out of the bath, into the bloodstream
February 28, 2011 —
“We haven’t come across it yet, but it’s only a matter of time,” state police trooper Troy Meder told The Bay City Times.
Meder was speaking about a new, dangerous drug sold in the form of bath salts and how they are becoming a cause of concern due to how easily they can be obtained.
The bath salts drugs can be snorted, injected, ingested with water, inserted rectally or vaginally, or smoked. According to The Huffington Post, people who have taken the drugs have experienced paranoia, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and rapid heart rates.
The bath salts drugs often contain stimulant chemicals such as Methylmethathinone and Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or MDPV. Both chemicals can cause increased heart rate, dizziness, chest pains, delusions, panic attacks, nose bleeds and nausea.
MDPV also stops the brain from producing the chemical dopamine, which helps a person’s ability to feel pleasure. When used long term, MDPV will stop the brain from making the chemical at all.
In a press release, Dr. Gregory Holzman, the chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Community Health, emphasized the dangers of the drugs and their effects. He said that use of these bath salt drugs “can result in violent behavior and death.”
The demand for these drugs is growing. Data from the state of Michigan reported 18 cases related to the use of bath salts in hospital emergency departments from Jan. 1 through Feb. 4. Most of the calls made to emergency centers in Michigan regarding the drugs were from Marquette, not mid-Michigan areas.
Although there have been no reports of this drug found in the area, police and medical officials are becoming familiar with bath salts. Saginaw Valley officials have been monitoring the drug for a few months as well.
Sara Peeples, a health and wellness educator in the Counseling Center, said that she and her coworkers have kept a close eye on the bath salts for two months.
Although there have been no reported cases of SVSU students using the drug so far, Peeples said that the University has prepared itself for a possible increase in the drug’s popularity.
“We’re always on guard, always educating ourselves,” she said. “As far as the Counseling Center, I know that we are always ready for anything new to come up.”
Peeples also stated that the drug is most commonly used “more in the adolescent population.” However, since other colleges have seen an increase in students using bath salts, SVSU officials are keeping a close eye on students.
“We’ve just been patiently watching the campus culture,” Peeples said.
Some people have become homicidal or suicidal when under the influence of bath salt drugs. The drug, which has been compared to Ritalin when used in lower doses and cocaine when used in higher doses, can even cause users to require long-term psychiatric care.
However, the bath salts drug is not widely used enough in Michigan to be a major concern to SVSU officials yet.
“We don’t want to go on guard with bath salts if our students aren’t even thinking about it, because there’s other things out there that they are using that we need to monitor,” Peeples said.
People with questions or concerns about these bath salt drugs are encouraged to call the Mich. Toxic Hotline or speak with one of the peer health educators in Curtiss 121.