The DEA classified the bath salt mephedrone as a Schedule 1 substance in 2011. (Photo : DEA)
Bath salts are all the rage nowadays. The relatively underground drug has gone national after gaining exposure thanks to the ridiculous acts of a few people high on it. In an effort to understand this new phenomenon, scientists have taken a closer look at the drug, and realized that it acts in the same way cocaine does in the brain.
Like Us on Facebook
Bath salts, according to Wikipedia, are "a range of water-soluble, usually inorganic solid products designed to be added to a bath." Problem is, one can smoke them as well, and the result is an intoxicating and hallucinogenic feeling.
The scientists looked at a particular strain of bath salts, mephedrone, that has been linked with several deaths and caused some nations to ban it.
"The effects of mephedrone on the brain's reward circuits are comparable to similar doses of cocaine," he said. "As expected our research shows that mephedrone likely has significant abuse liability," said co-author of the paper C.J. Malanga.
The study is one of the first to actually explore the physiological effects of bath salts and one of the first definitive conclusions that bath salts can be treated as an addictive drug such as cocaine. Information about how bath salts interact with the body are limited. Back in October, 2011, the DEA placed mephedrone in the Schedule 1 category.
"Basically, the DEA was saying we don't know enough about these drugs to know how potentially dangerous they could be, so we're going to make them maximally restricted, gather more data, and then come to a more reasoned decision as to how we should classify these compounds," Malanga said.
Bath salts have been garnering attention because of outrageous crimes committed by people who are supposedly on them. The 'face eater' from Miami was thought to be on bath salts when he cannibalized an innocent victim's face. No evidence of bath salts was found in his system, although another case where a woman went crazy in a maternity ward was linked to bath salts.