Bath Salts, New and Now Illegal Drug

Mephedrone is the key constituent of a designer-drug mix sold as “bath salts”.  It produces a methamphetamine-like craving but with unique effects, similar to but distinct from methamphetamine and ecstasy.  It increases brain levels of dopamine and serotonin.  Repeated use damages the brain’s ability to respond to serotonin.  It causes the body to overheat.  In rat studies, subjects quickly develop a craving for more.

Up until September 7th, Mephedrone was legally sold on the open market.  It has now become a controlled substance with the DEA enacting emergency scheduling authority.  Brand names include: Ivory Wave, Vanilla Sky, Purple Wave, Red Dove, Blue Silk, Zoom, Cloud Nine and Ocean Snow. 

Emergency rooms are experiencing a surge in visits for people who have swallowed, snorted or injected mephedrone.   The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is asking providers to exercise a judicious level of vigilance concerning this potentially lethal product of abuse. 

For more information, please visit the NIDA web site  


Lily Penney, MPH
Program Specialist

Tonya McFadden
MS, MSA, Manager


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