Substance Showdown: Bath Salts vs. Meth
Meth, over the years, has gained quite the reputation. We all know the physical signs of meth due to ads and billboards featuring before and after pictures of people on meth aka The Meth Project. And bath salts? Well, bath salts gained notoriety pretty quick due to the little incident of one man eating another man’s face that gave every zombie fan everywhere something to worry about. Luckily, last year’s cannibalism was a false alarm on the zombie apocalypse even though all the warnings about bath salts weren’t and well meth is still going steady as it always has. Today substance showdown is between two heavy hitters: Bath salts and meth. Who will be the winner?
This is a substance showdown: Bath Salts vs. Meth
The two substances, bath salts and meth will go head to head for three rounds based on: health effects, insidiousness and legality, and withdrawal. The winner is the worst of each category and the winner will be the one who wins the most categories. Let’s see who comes out on top in today’s VS BATH SALTS vs. METH!
ROUND 1: HEALTH EFFECTS
- Bath salts effects tend to last about three or four hours, but rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure and other effects of a stimulant may last longer.
- High doses have caused intense and extended panic attacks in some people. Since this drug is a stimulant, it tends to disrupt sleep. A person who takes the drug frequently may suffer from sleep-deprivation psychosis. Addiction is also a very likely effect.
- Mentally, the user will experience euphoria, alertness, anxiety and agitation. He will probably not feel hungry. He may have a headache, tense muscles, increased body temperature, nosebleeds and dilated pupils. He may also be dizzy and confused and may grind his teeth. But those are the milder effects.
- The more serious effects include fits, hallucinations, aggression, suicidal thoughts or attempts and psychotic delusions. Physically, a person can experience liver failure, kidney failure, and loss of bowel control, and rhabdomyolysis which is a spontaneous breakdown of muscle fiber that can lead to death.
- Tragically, one of the effects of bath salts abuse is death, either because of the direct effect of the drug or because of a person’s actions. In March 2011, a young man in New Jersey killed his girlfriend while he was under the influence of bath salts. A young woman who injected bath salts lost the arm the drugs were injected into, her shoulder, breast and other tissue after a flesh-eating bacteria destroyed the muscles in that part of her body. She survived. A young man in Louisiana thought his house was surrounded by police and tried to cut his own throat. His family stopped him and the cut was stitched up, but he succeeded in shooting himself the next day. These are only a few of the many stories of self-destruction and harm resulting from bath salts.
In 2010, there were 304 calls to poison control centers about this drug, but more than 6,000 in 2011. Since the drugs have been banned in 31 states, there have only been 2,250 in the first six months of 2012.
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature
- Dilation of pupils
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Bizarre, erratic, sometimes violent behavior
- Hallucinations, hyperexcitability, irritability
- Panic and psychosis
- Convulsions, seizures and death from high doses
- Permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain, high blood pressure leading to heart attacks, strokes and death
- Liver, kidney and lung damage
- Destruction of tissues in nose if sniffed
- Respiratory (breathing) problems if smoked
- Infectious diseases and abscesses if injected
- Malnutrition, weight loss
- Severe tooth decay
- Disorientation, apathy, confused exhaustion
- Strong psychological dependence
- Damage to the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and epilepsy
- Collapse or death
ROUND 1 HEALTH EFFECTS: WINNER IS NEITHER IT IS A DRAW
ROUND 2 INSIDIOUSNESS AND LEGALITY
Meth: Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, less abuse potential than Schedule I drugs such as marijuana, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. Meth is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Meth has little to no insidiousness because it is well known in its effects and addictiveness. Most people have seen The Meth Project’s before and after photos of meth users either on T.V., on billboards, on the internet or maybe even in their D.A.R.E class. Most people who end up smoking meth know the horrors and dangers of it but think either it can’t or won’t happen again. As some of us have heard before the saying “just once” is what most future meth addicts say. This doesn’t make meth insidious. Although on a little side note, I was kind of surprised to find out that Schedule II substance along with prescription narcotics. I don’t know if this is supposed to be saying meth isn’t that dangerous or that prescription narcotics are more dangerous than people like to think.
Bath Salts: In July 2012, the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act made it illegal to possess, use, or distribute many of the chemicals used to make bath salts, including Mephedrone and MDPV. Methylone, another such chemical, remains under a DEA regulatory ban. In all, the law covers 26 chemicals, all of them ingredients in synthetic drugs. This wasn’t always the case though. At some point bath salts were legal. And many new and different chemical formulas of bath salts are legal because the makers find loopholes in the DEA ban of chemicals. This made and still makes bath salts very insidious. Bath salts because of their legality were and still are assumed by many users to be “less bad” than other substances. Also, bath salts would seem “safer” because they are manufactured-this just isn’t so. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is safe and also, just because as we are all learning, something is manufactured it doesn’t mean it is safe either. All legality and manufacturing does for bath salts, is make it sneakier. I mean if we look at the health effects of bath salts, quite obviously they are not safe. So why are so many people continuing to use them? In many cases the answer to this question is because of the legality. I mean even the name for this potent substance gives it the feeling of being “light” or “not dangerous”, bath salts? I mean, c’mon. It is manufactured to sound safe. This makes bath salts ridiculously insidious. Bath salts are like the highest trained assassins that aren’t even human (kind of like the Terminator) and they are trained to kill and nearly incapable of being stopped.
THE WINNER OF ROUND 2 IS BATH SALTS Bath salts are much more insidious than meth. The dangers of meth are well documented and meth is very illegal. Bath salts not only are questionable in their chemical makeup, but are also marketed to seem safe as well as being legal or sold in legal places not on the street.
ROUND 3 ADDICTIVENESS AND WITHDRAWAL
Meth: Methamphetamine can be taken orally, smoked, snorted, or injected. The user will experience a sudden “rush” of pleasure directly after smoking or injecting the drug. This sensation only lasts for about a minute or two while the effects of meth can last from 30 minutes to 12 hours. Meth also has a high risk of dependency in users. If the user becomes dependent, they need more and more of the substance to feel the high. Methamphetamine withdrawal varies depending on the level of addiction and frequency of meth use.
1. Depression: It can be very difficult to deal with the mental anguish that you obtain from meth. Withdrawal from methamphetamine has been associated with depression.
2. Fatigue: Once an individual stops using meth they can become extremely tired. Without the artificial source of energy, the person begins to feel uncomfortable and deprived of energy.
3. Changes in Heart Rhythm: Methamphetamine is a stimulant, and can cause irregular heartbeats. When the addict stops using the drug changes in heart rhythm may occur.
Bath salts: A new study finds that the active ingredient in the drug is more addictive than even methamphetamine, one of the most addictive substances we know. Rats pressed a lever as many as 900 times in an attempt to get a dose of the powerful stimulant, nearly four times the effort they would exert to get a similar dose of highly addictive methamphetamine, according to experiments done at the Scripps Research Institute. While on the drug, the rats exhibited obsessive behaviors, licking biting and sniffing the sides of their cage.
In order to avoid severe bath salts withdrawal symptoms medical intervention and 24-hour medical support is vital, since anti-depressant therapy as well as psychotherapy will be helpful for patients with depressive states due to bath salts. Bath salts withdrawal symptoms are similar to methamphetamine withdrawal.
- Decreased appetite
- Too much sleep or inability to sleep
- Psychotic behaviors
THE WINNER OF ROUND 3 IS BATH SALTS Not a lot is known about bath salts but more is definitely coming out with time. While bath salts are not much worse in the withdrawal category it does seem like the research is pointing towards bath salts being more addictive than meth. This makes bath salts are winner of round three.
AND THE WINNER OF THE SUBSTANCE SHOWDOWN BATH SALTS VS. METH IS. . .
Bath salts may be one of the worst substances out there, end of discussion. Not only because of its health effects but also because of its insidiousness and the maker’s ability to circumvent the laws banning the chemicals used to make it by using other dangerous chemicals. Not only that but the effects of bath salts are not totally well known and because of the legality people assume they may be safer. The addictive potential of bath salts also seems to be gaining some repute with the recent studies on it. This makes bath salts our winning contender in the battle of which substance is worse. If you are thinking you are okay because you bought bath salts in a gas station, think again, you might just want to go hit the streets in search of meth or better yet get sober and stay sober.
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