By now most people have heard of the “cannibal” in Miami who “ate” most of a man’s face.  If not, there was a thirty-one year old man who was shot and killed by police because he would not stop attacking a sixty-five year old homeless man by chewing on his face.  This “cannibal” is suspected of having been under the influence of bath salts.  

This type of bath salts is not the kind to make your experience in the tub more relaxing or enjoyable.  This is a drug that is inhaled, injected or swallowed.    It is a stimulant-type drug considered to be a replacement for cocaine or a synthetic form of LSD.   The main ingredient is
MPDV (methylenedioxypyrovalerone). 

This form of bath salts causes feelings of euphoria, increases sensory awareness and produces hallucinations.  To the recreational drug user this may sound desirable, but actually the adverse side effects heavily outweigh any reason to use this drug.

Bath salts cause severe agitation, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure and confusion.  These side effects are minor compared to the more dangerous side effects of this drug such as combativeness, violence, suicidal thoughts, severe paranoia and delusions.  Since it causes one to hallucinate, one can lose touch with reality and act in a psychotic fashion like the man in Miami.

Consequently, being under the influence of bath salts makes one dangerous to oneself and others as there has been a steady increase in violent actions by people using this drug.  This makes one a candidate for being involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital, or Baker Acted as it is known
in the state of Florida. 

Imagine taking bath salts with the expectation of a unique “high” only to find yourself strapped to a bed in a psychiatric hospital because you had a psychotic episode.  You can’t just explain it away and leave because the law dictates that you can be held for seventy-two hours for observation.  

Unless a psychiatrist decides you are no longer a danger to yourself or others (the main reason for the Baker Act to be exercised), you are subject to whatever treatment the psychiatrist deems “best” for you.  That could be anything from mind-altering drugs with horrific side effects to shock
treatment, which is simply putting a specified amount of electricity into your brain to treat that “psychosis.”  Whatever the treatment is, it’s unnecessary and can’t be good for you since you were admitted in error and your “psychosis” was drug-induced.

Drug-induced psychosis is a key factor to consider when trying to determine what is causing such violent behavior.  There have been incidents where people high on bath salts have killed parents and neighbors.  It has been recognized that the bath salts were the cause.  So why isn’t this
drug-induced psychosis recognized as the cause behind other instances of violent behavior by people taking drugs such as antidepressants when the side effects are eerily pretty much the same?

The most widely used antidepressants today are called SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and they have a Black Box Warning which is the strongest one the FDA can issue.  This alerts the consumer to the potential of suicidal thoughts while taking the drug.  Granted bath salts
aren’t going to have any kind of warning because it’s not a prescription drug. 

However, it doesn’t make sense that bath salts are readily recognized as causing violence but the warning for antidepressants is right there on the box, yet these drugs are never mentioned by the media as a potential cause of suicide or violence when it does take place.

Statistics don’t lie.  In a recent study of prescription medication and violence, the FDA received the most reports of violence from those taking antidepressants.  Of the top ten drugs associated with violence, it was found that Prozac and Paxil were ranked number two and three respectively.
There have been to date three hundred murder-suicides, one thousand murders and sixty-six school shootings, just to name a few within the almost five thousand cases reported where SSRIs have been linked to criminal behavior. 

Before SSRIs came into being in the late nineteen-eighties, random nonsensical acts of suicide and violence were unheard of.  Since then we have regularly heard of parents killing their children,
children killing their parents and children killing other children.  Clearly this isn’t regular everyday living, yet the only action the FDA has taken has been issuing the Black Box Warning and even that was way overdue.

Depression, murder and suicide have been around a long time.  People getting high is not some new trend.  But bath salts and antidepressants have  the same common denominator of side effects that warrant investigation and action into the latter.  It would be wise to get yourself informed so that you don’t become a victim in any sense of the word.