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Posted by: Kathleen Whelton and Avi Pinals who both work in the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services 

Bath Salts have been in the news a lot lately, but what are they? Bath Salts are a group of chemical compounds that when taken orally, inhaled, or injected mimic the effects of stimulants (like cocaine). According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, these compounds have been named “Bath Salts” in order to hide their actual purpose and to avoid government regulations.

Since Bath Salts are a relatively recent invention, there is limited research on their long term consequences.  We do, however, have information about some of their short term effects, which include violent behavior, confusion, chest pain, hallucinations, paranoia, vomiting, seizures, anxiety, and even death.

Fortunately, Governor Deval Patrick recently signed legislation making Bath Salts illegal in Massachusetts.  Furthermore, a federal law signed by President Obama in July makes it illegal to sell, own, or use any products containing the chemicals used in Bath Salts, including buying and selling online.

For resources for parents on how to keep kids safer from drugs and alcohol, visit the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services’ website. To learn about activities and services in your area for youth or call 2-1-1 (TTY: 508-370-4890). If you have concern about a loved one’s drug or alcohol use, visit or call 1-800-327-5050 (TTY: 1-617-536-5872) 7 days a week.


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