Bath salt abuse no longer has to be addressed by individual states. Congress has not yet passed the Synthetic Drug Act of 2011, but the FDA used its emergency authority on October 21st to enact a temporary ban on the drug. Although probationary, the ban will remain in effect for at least a year while studies are done to determine if there should be permanent regulation. This decision makes it illegal nationwide to possess or sell the three ingredients used in manufacturing bath salts.

Last month’s bath salts decision marks the second time in 2011 that the FDA has stepped in when outdated laws needed to catch up to modern-day drug use. Setting precedence only last march, the FDA banned the synthetic marijuana products Spice and K2. However, manufacturer's ability to change the chemical composition of synthetic drugs enabled them to avoid prosecution.

Bath salts, also known as Ivory Wave, Red Dove, Hurricane Charlie, Zoom, Scar Face and a host of other terms, are not to be confused with bathing salt crystals. Instead, the powdery substance is similar to methamphetamine and believed by many to be responsible for thousands of reports of hallucinations, violence and deaths. Despite similarities to illicit drugs, reports of damaging effects and illegal status elsewhere, bath salts remained readily available from malls to truck stops and over the internet.

How could such an allegedly dangerous substance like bath salts be so easy to obtain? For the same reasons it is difficult to regulate common household products and medications that can be abused if consumers choose to use them for unintended purposes. Cough syrup, nitrous oxide in cool whip containers, pseudoephedrine and harsh chemicals found in cleaning supplies are often abused for recreational purposes. Since the ingredients used in bath salts were never intended for human consumption, bath salts remained unregulated and bath salt abuse has increased by staggering proportions.

Bath salt abuse has not undergone much needed scientific study and reporting. Abundant commonalities between reports from health services, legal records and drug users are compelling, however. The desired “high” is reported to occur quite rapidly and more intensely than some other methods, like smoking marijuana. The effects can be long lasting, however, and frequently include increased heart rate and blood pressure, paranoia and hallucinations which have led to bouts of violence towards others and even suicide.

Are you struggling with bath salt addiction? Are you helplessly watching a loved one losing their battle with addiction? Substance abuse does not have to be a life sentence. Help is available. Use the links below for a free, confidential consultation. Addiction experts are available 24 hours per day to help you. Let their dedication and support guide you so you can put your Recovery First, helping end the pain felt by both loved ones and victims of bath salt abuse.

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Author's Bio: 

Terek is an English student finishing a Master's degree in Legal Writing and Research. Terek has studied personally with some of the country's most influential copywriters and editors as part of a special program run by the USDE.