As the uproar over synthetic marijuana dies out, a new chemical raises controversy. Synthetic cocaine, often sold as "bath salts" or "plant feeder," has hit the market with frightening results. These bath salts are a combination of Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and Lidocaine. MDPV is a psychoactive drug that stimulates the central nervous system, much like amphetamine
. Similar to the effects of cocaine
, it causes increased alertness, hunger inhibition, euphoria, and anxiety
. Lidocaine is commonly used by dentists as a local anesthetic, and may also be used to help those with irregular heartbeats. Both drugs are dangerous, and in combination, the results can be unpredictable.
Dangers of Synthetic Cocaine
As a new drug hits the market such as bath salts, many young people are eager to experiment. The legality and availability of the substance in gas stations, online, and in smoke shops gives the impression that it is safe to abuse. It does not show up in drug tests, so it is popular among teenagers who want to get high while still undergoing urinalysis. However, research has not been done thoroughly to determine exactly how it affects its users. Numerous suicides have been attributed to the use of synthetic cocaine, as the effects of coming down can be severely depressing. Poison control centers across the country have received a rapidly increasing number of calls regarding its usage, and the rate of emergency room visits continue to grow. Some users with low tolerance to stimulants may experience rapid heartbeat, cardiac arrest, and psychosis. In the past few months, the Louisiana Poison Control Center has received over 165 phone calls from users who smoked, snorted, or injected the substance and were experiencing headaches, suicidal thoughts, and psychosis. Emergency rooms and psychiatric wards are reporting a substantial increase in patients reporting abuse of the drug prior to admittance to the hospital. It is reported that many teens that try the drug only use it once, as the effects scare them.
Government Action to Protect Community
The DEA has recently put MDPV on their list of "drugs and chemicals of concern," and is investigating the use and effects of it. As the DEA slowly investigates the substance, many local and state governments are working to quickly prohibit the substance from being sold. The manufacturers go through a loophole in the system by putting a "not for human consumption" warning on the packet. Louisiana was the first state to outlaw the use of these bath salts, and many communities hope to follow with their own legislation.