Frequently Asked Questions: ‘Bath Salts’

• “Bath salts” are not salts that go in your bath, but is rather the street name for a number of synthetic amphetamine-type stimulants that look like salts (i.e., they are a white powder).
• The general public, especially youth, should be aware that although bath salts are often identified as “legal highs” or “not illegal” this does not make them safe.
• People taking bath salts report hallucinations, paranoia, chest pain, blurry vision and increased body temperature, and can be agitated and combative.
• Bath salts are sold by dealers via the Internet or in “head-shops.”
• As of May 2012 the use of bath salts in Canada appears to be mainly limited to the Maritime provinces.

What are “bath salts”?

Bath salts is a name used for a class of products containing synthetic stimulants sold by dealers via the Internet or in drug paraphernalia shops (“head-shops”). Bath salts are frequently labelled “not for human consumption,” presumably in an attempt to circumvent drug laws in the jurisdictions in which these products are purchased.

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These products are in no way related to the salts that are sold to put in the bath (e.g., Epsom salts or other perfumed skin softening agents). Rather, they contain amphetamine-type stimulants, such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), methylone or mephedrone. These substances are part of the group of drugs known as synthetic cathinones. Synthetic cathinones are prepared in illicit laboratories and are chemically similar to naturally occurring cathinones found in the Khat plant, a shrub native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Individuals under the influence of these substances report hallucinations, paranoia, chest pain and blurry vision, and appear agitated and combative. Because of this agitation, there have been some reports from the United States that these individuals can pose a danger to themselves and others.

Street names:

Ivory Wave, Vanilla Sky, Pure Ivory, Cloud Nine, Whack, Bolivian Bath, Purple Wave, Charge+, Ocean Burst, Ecstasy, Gloom, Purple Rain, Salt, Fly, Hurricane Charley, Crash, White, Rush, Plant Food, Bubbles, Meow Meow, Explosion, Monkey Dust, Monkey Mess, Monkey Mash, Pixie Dust, Rave On.


-Information courtesy The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse