This has nothing to do with taking a bath.

Researchers at the University of Florida College of Medicine, in Gainesville, tell us, “The abuse of psychoactive “bath salts” (PABS) has become commonplace, and patients with PABS overdoses are presenting to emergency departments with increasing frequency.

Here’s what we know.

  • The main ingredient in this synthetic designer drug is methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), a central nervous system stimulant.
  • PABS skirt substance-control laws and are readily available at low cost.
  • PABS are taken orally, intranasally, intravenously, or rectally.
  • They are obtained over the Internet and known as Ivory Wave or Vanilla Sky.
  • Bath salts are marketed as producing a high similar to that obtained with illegal stimulants such as methamphetamine.
  • They are sometimes referred to as “legal cocaine” but without causing the pronounced euphoria.
  • Users may experience tachycardia, hypertension, hyperthermia, and seizures.
  • Users may experience severe panic attacks, agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, and violent behavior (self-mutilation, suicide attempts, and homicidal activity).
  • Deaths have been reported.

The bottom line?

Senator Charles Schumer has introduced legislation to ban “bath salts.”

And, the Drug Enforcement Administration says it will use its emergency authority to ban chemicals used to make “bath salts” — calling the chemicals an “imminent hazard” to the public.

9/21/11 22:08 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.