Bath Salts

Synthetic cathinones, often called “bath salts,” are powerful, illegal, and can cause hallucinations and violent behavior, among other dangerous effects.

582 Exposures

Jan. 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2014

Synthetic cathinones, often marketed as “bath salts,” have names like Cloud 9 and Bliss. They are NOT the bath salts you use in your tub. These are powerful illegal drugs that have not been tested for safety, and users don’t really know exactly what chemicals they are putting into their bodies. The side effects they cause may be permanent.

Poison center experts say these substances are among the worst they have seen. Users have experienced many side effects, such as:

  • Paranoia and violent behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Seizures
  • Panic attacks
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

In 2012, poison centers took 2,691 calls about exposures to bath salts with the number reducing to 995 in 2013. In 2014 there were 582 exposure calls. (Click here for the most recent detailed data.) The drug seems to be most popular with people who are between 20 and 29 years old. However, poison centers have seen bath salts exposures in a wide range of ages, from younger than 6 to older than 59.

What should you do if someone has taken bath salts?

Call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222. Fifty-five poison centers around the country have experts waiting to answer your call. These experts can help you decide whether someone can be treated at home, or whether he or she must go to a hospital.

Dial 9-1-1 immediately if someone: 

  • Stops breathing
  • Collapses
  • Has a seizure

For more information, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222. Poison centers are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year for poisoning emergencies and for informational calls, too.

PLEASE NOTE: The term "exposure" means someone has had contact with the substance in some way; for example, ingested, inhaled, absorbed by the skin or eyes, etc. Not all exposures are poisonings or overdoses.

Bath Salts Exposures 2014-15

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