'Bath Salts' Drug Trend: Expert Q&A
"Ivory Wave," "Purple Wave," Vanilla Sky," and "Bliss" are among the many street names of so-called designer drugs known as “bath salts,” which have sparked thousands of calls to poison centers across the U.S.
These drugs contain synthetic chemicals that are similar to amphetamines. Some, but not all, of the chemicals used to make them are illegal.
What Are Bath Salts?
"Is this what we put in our bathtubs, like Epsom salts? No," says Zane Horowitz, MD, an ER doctor and medical director of the Oregon Poison Center.
These drugs have nothing to do with real bath salts -- or "jewelry cleaner," or "plant food," or "phone screen cleaner," which they're also sometimes called, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Exactly which chemicals are in the drugs isn't known.
"The presumption is that most ‘bath salts’ are MDPV, or methylenedioxypyrovalerone, although newer... derivatives are being made by illegal street chemists," Horowitz says. "Nobody really knows, because there has been no way to test for these substances. However, that is changing, and some tests for certain of these chemicals have been developed."