“Bath salts” is the name given to a family of drugs that have one or more manmade chemicals related to cathinone. Cathinone is an amphetamine-like stimulant found naturally in the khat plant. Chemically, they are similar to other amphetamines such as methamphetamine and to MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly).
Bath salts are usually white or brown crystal-like powder and are sold in small plastic or foil packages labeled “Not for Human Consumption.” Sometimes labeled as “plant food”—or, more recently, as “jewelry cleaner” or “phone screen cleaner”—they are sold online and in drug product stores. These names or descriptions have nothing to do with the product. It’s a way for the drug makers to avoid detection by the Drug Enforcement Administration or local police.
“Bath salts” are usually ingested by sniffing/snorting. They can also be taken orally, smoked, or put into a solution and injected into veins.
The man-made cathinone products sold as “bath salts” should not be confused with Epsom salts (the original bath salts), which are made of a mineral mixture of magnesium and sulfate and are added to bathwater to help ease stress and relax muscles.
Use of bath salts sometimes causes severe intoxication (a person seems very drunk or “out of it”) and dangerous health effects. There are also reports of people becoming psychotic (losing touch with reality) and violent. Although it is rare, there have been several cases where bath salts have been the direct cause of death.