-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Street drugs called "bath
salts" were linked to nearly 23,000 emergency department visits in
the United States in 2011, a new report says.
Bath salts are amphetamine-like stimulants that have become
increasingly popular among recreational drug users in recent years.
Despite the name, these synthetic drugs have nothing to do with the
crystals you might sprinkle in a bathtub.
The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration (SAMHSA) report, released Tuesday, is the first
national study to look at bath salts-related emergency department
visits since the drugs appeared a few years ago.
"Although bath salts drugs are sometimes claimed to be 'legal highs' or are promoted with labels to mask their real purpose, they can be extremely dangerous when used," Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, SAMHSA's chief medical officer, said in an agency news release.
"Bath salts drugs can cause heart problems, high blood pressure, seizures, addiction, suicidal thoughts, psychosis and, in some cases, death -- especially when combined with the use of other drugs," she noted.
The report said that 67 percent of emergency department visits
linked to bath salts also involved the use of another drug. Fifteen
percent of the visits involved the use of bath salts with marijuana
or synthetic forms of marijuana.
In 2011, there were nearly 2.5 million U.S. emergency department
visits involving drug misuse or abuse, according to the report.
The bath salts report is based on data from the 2011 Drug Abuse
Warning Network (DAWN) report. DAWN is a public health surveillance
system that monitors drug-related hospital emergency department
visits and drug-related deaths in the United States.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about
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