bath salts can kill...???

I know, I know, it's a bit unusual for me to post twice in the same day, but you have just got to know about this.

I just saw a notification from the  CDC about a relatively new form of designer drugs  available in head shops, convenience stores, gas stations and elsewhere, labeled as "Bath salts." Only they are NOT meant for adding to the bath. They are used to inhale, inject or swallow and have brand names such as "White Rush,"  "Cloud Nine, "White Lightning," and "Sextacy" among others.

The report focuses on an "outbreak" of intoxications due to these products seen in Michigan Emergency Departments, including one patient who arrived dead. The increase in use occurred between November of 2010 and January of 2011.  It is likely that the use of these compounds (synthetic stimulants that can cause reactions similar to cocaine) will accelerate in other states as well. In fact, poison control centers from 45 states have reported a major increase in calls related to "Bath Salts" in the first 4 months of 2011, compared with the total number of calls seen in all of 2010.

All parents should be on the lookout for adolescents possessing "Bath Salts" that have unusual names. The compounds can cause symptoms ranging from mild agitation and anxiety, to acute psychosis and hallucinations, and even death.

The Michigan report noted the occurrence of ED visits for patients between the ages of 20 and 55; but clearly these drugs have relatively easy access and could fall into the hands of our teenagers.

Does anyone have any experience with "Bath Salts?" as a provider or a parent? If you do, please share with the rest of us. Thanks!

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About Dr. Ackerman

Alice Ackerman, MD, MBA, FAAP, FCCM is the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Carilion Clinic and Professor and Founding Chair of Pediatrics at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Dr. Ackerman is recognized nationally as an expert in pediatric critical care.

She has been at Carilion Clinic since June of 2007. Her primary goals are to enhance the health care of children in the Roanoke Valley and Southwest Virginia, and is actively working to do this both as physician in chief of the children's hospital, as well as through involvement with many state-wide initiatives.

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