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New study analyzes bath salt use among high school seniors

Published On: 08-17-2015 in Category: Bath Salts, Drug Abuse, Substance Abuse, Teens


Over recent years, the use of synthetic psychoactive drugs has risen. These substances initially gained popularity as legal substitutes for their street drug counterparts and allowed people to test clean on drug tests while still being able to get high. These drugs are typically sold as research chemicals and tend to change in chemical makeup every so often to avoid getting banned by the federal government. “Bath salts” have become one of the more popular synthetic drugs in the U.S. and have been linked to several cases of users having severe psychiatric, neurological, cardiac and gastrointestinal problems. They were responsible for 20,000 emergency room visits in the U.S. in 2011. New research suggests that they have gained popularity among seniors in high school.

A study titled “Bath Salt Use Among Nationally Representative Sample of High School Seniors in the United States,” published in The American Journal of Addiction, examined the self-reported use of bath salts in the U.S. Researchers used data from the Monitoring the Future survey (MTF), an annual study on continuing trends in attitudes and behaviors across the U.S. The survey is administered to approximately 130 private and public schools throughout 48 states. Roughly 15,000 students are surveyed annually through this research. The bath salt study utilized responses from the MTF survey from 2012 to 2013, which analyzed data from 8,604 students who self-reported their substance usage and sociodemographic data.

The results suggest that 1.1 percent of high school seniors used bath salts in the past year. One third of students using bath salts reported using the drug only once or twice, which indicates that experimenting with the drug is common among seniors. An alarming 18 percent of users taking bath salts used the drug at least 40 times or more over the last year.

The rate of use did not dramatically change between 2012 and 2013, but the perceived risk of use by respondents did change significantly from 25 percent in 2012, increasing to 39 percent in 2013. Study author, Dr. Joseph J. Palamar, Ph.D., noted that bath salts can even end up being mixed with common club drugs like ecstasy (MDMA or “Molly”), which means that there could be many more people who are unintentionally taking these drugs. Dr. Palamar added, “While these results suggest bath salt use is not particularly prevalent among teens in the US, it is important that we continue to monitor new drugs such as ‘bath salts’ in order to inform prevention and quickly detect potential drug epidemics.”

In 2014, there were 101 new psychoactive drugs identified throughout the world and this number is still rising. They are often sold legally in head shops and are not subject to any type of quality control. While the federal government has banned the original formula to make bath salts, manufacturers are consistently changing the formula to avoid prosecution. These drugs are normally made overseas and the end users rarely ever truly know what they are getting.

Drug Treatment Rehab Centers of Long Beach is a free resource to anybody who is struggling with drug addiction and is seeking help for their condition. There is an abundance of drug addiction treatment facilities in the Long Beach area and we are committed to helping those who are still suffering find effective addiction treatment options. If you know someone who is

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