Bath Salts: The Drug That Never Lets Go
PBS Newshour has an in-depth piece out on bath salts: their origins, growing popularity and (adverse) effects. It's particularly interesting to learn how bath salts actually affect the brain. From the article:
Taking bath salts, it seemed, was similar to taking amphetamine and cocaine at the same time. Except for one thing: MDPV is as much as 10 times stronger than cocaine.
Imagine the space between the nerve cells as a kitchen sink and the water as dopamine. In the brain's natural state, the faucet, or nerve cell endings, are always leaking some dopamine, and the drain is always slightly open, vacuuming some of the chemical back into the cell. Methamphetamine turns the faucet on high. Cocaine closes the drain. Bath salts, researchers discovered, do both at the same time. With the faucet on and the drain closed, the water overflows. In other words, the drug was flooding the brain.
The article goes on to explain why bath salts are so difficult to regulate and what the DEA's doing about it. It's definitely worth a read.
- "Bath Salts" an Emerging Risk
- Bath Salts Still Legal Despite Dangers
- Bath Salts and Spice
- Your Brain on Bath Salts [infographic]
Liz Wu is a Digital Accounts Manager at Prichard Communications, where she oversees digital outreach for Reclaiming Futures and edits Reclaiming Futures Every Day. Before joining the Prichard team, Liz established the West Coast communications presence for the New America Foundation, where she managed all media relations, event planning and social media outreach for their 6 domestic policy programs. Liz received a B.A. in both Peace and Conflict Studies and German from the University of California at Berkeley. She tweets from @LizSF.
*animated .gif at top from PBS Newshour