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Bath Salts Contributing to Thousands of ER Visits

Bath Salts have become a fast growing drug of abuse in the United States. The chilling effects have been seen in the media the country over with gruesome images of violent behavior. With the proliferation of the drug, has come a stinging reality – emergency health issues. A SAMHSA report, the first of its kind, estimates that almost 23,000 hospital visits have been linked to bath salts. Bath salts are responsible for many serous physical and psychological issues including high blood pressure, seizures, even death, as well as psychosis, suicidal thoughts and more. The data was extrapolated from ER visits in 2011. Interestingly, about two thirds of all ER visits linked to bath salts were associated with the use of other drugs as well.

While 23,000 ER visits is a relatively small fraction of the estimated 2.5 million drug related ER visits nationally in 2011, it represents a growing problem in the United States. Even more concerning is the fact that bath salts can still be purchased legally in some parts of the country as they are often composed of legal ingredients. There are so many variations of bath salts that law enforcement has found it difficult to keep up.

The field of addictions is changing rapidly and as professionals, we must keep up with current trends to prevent the proliferation of these new drugs. We must educate families and communities on the harmful effects of these new substances.