LISBON - It's difficult to understand why anyone would experiment with drugs or other harmful substances. Everyone knows what happens in addiction, don't they? Still, every day numbers of youth and adults pick up a bottle of alcohol or consume drugs for whatever their reasons. Too many become addicted. And worse yet, too many don't get the help they need for recovery. And there is that "what if." What if someone had said or done something before a problem became addiction?
One of the newest substances of abuse is "bathsalts." It's so new that nobody saw it coming and nobody knows the full effects of the abuse and addiction of bathsalts, although it is known that bathsalts are highly addicting. The longer and more you use it, the more you crave it. But it can kill you.
Authorities say this isn't anything like you put in your bathwater. The substance has been labeled bathsalts and "not for human consumption" is printed on the packaging. That gets the manufacturer off the legal hook, if not the moral one.
Bathsalts are a synthetic, stimulant powder and is highly dangerous because often you have no idea what is in it. Mephedrone is the main ingredient in bathsalts. Its effects are similar to ecstasy or amphetamine. It also is a plant food. It achieves a high similar to LSD, cocaine, ecstasy and PCP. And it is a plant food. Then factor in added paranoia-inducing chemicals. Society doesn't need any extra help in the area of paranoia.
The Ohio Police Chief's Association noted that "the law enforcement community has never experienced any drug which has grown in popularity so rapidly and does such extensive damage to the brain."
Last fall Ohio became one of 24 states at that time to ban the sale of designer bathsalts which cause increased blood pressure and heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, delusions and suicidal tendencies. It also is illegal in Australia, Canada and Great Britain.
Over the last months of 2010, more than 600 U.S. citizens died from bathsalts overdoses. Doctors at poison control centers are getting calls describing rapid heart beat, chest pains, high blood pressure and more.
How long do the side effects last? Nobody knows for sure yet because the substances are so new. But it's been suggested that they are similar to methamphetamine. Continued abuse over a period of time can lead to the crash of depression, anxiety and the strong urge to have more. Stroke, heart attack and sudden death will always be possible from abuse of bathsalts, advises abovetheinfluence.com.
A contributer to Forbes Magazine writes that bathsalts are imported from places like China and Europe. Law enforcement reports more domestic violence and assault cases that are related to the use of bathsalts. Youth are the ones most using bathsalts.
Parents, this is a heads-up for you to have a dialogue with your children about the dangers of substance abuse. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and the data doesn't lie: Parents have influence over their children.
For more information about bathsalts and substance abuse, contact Family Recovery Center at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. FRC promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs. The agency is funded by United Way of Northern Columbiana County and SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.).