Bath Salts Graphic

Dangerous new drugs are said to be on the rise. Recently, law enforcement officials in the United States are reporting that products marketed as “bath salts” have become prevalent as a drug of abuse. According to preliminary testing, the active ingredients in many of these bath salt brands contain MDVP or Methylenedioxypyrovalerone – a psychoactive drug with stimulant properties which acts as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI).

What is MDPV?

Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) is noted to have been sold since 2008 as a research chemical. It is the 3,4-methylenedioxy ring-substituted analog of the compound pyrovalerone – a psychoactive drug developed in the 1960s for the clinical treatment of chronic fatigue or lethargy.

In the United States, MDPV is marketed as “bath salts” in gas stations and convenience stores, similar to the marketing for Spice and K2 as incense. It comes in several different brands, such as Blue Silk, Charge+, Ivory Snow, Ivory Wave, Ocean Burst, Pure Ivory, Purple Wave, Snow Leopard, Stardust (Star Dust), Vanilla Sky, White Dove, White Knight, and White Lightning.

MDPV is described as a white, odorless, fine-grained powder similar in appearance to baby powder or flour. Many other brands are noted to have a tan or brown powdery substance. MDPV has no history of FDA approved medical use in the US and is usually labeled “not for human consumption.”

Signs and Symptoms of MDPV Use

Evidence shows that MDPV has amphetamine-like or cocaine-type effects, depending on the dosage and usage. It can be taken in different approaches – snorted, smoked, wrapped in cigarette papers and dissolved, or injected intravenously. The side effects have a duration that can last from 3-4 hours, up to 6-8 hours depending on the dosage ingested.

Users often report to feel compelled to continue re-dosing, but often lose interest in taking it quickly because of the unpleasant side effects caused by higher doses.

Signs and symptoms of this drug include the following:

Physical health risks

  • Elevated blood pressures
  • Extreme tachycardia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Myocardial infarctions (heart attacks)
  • Headaches
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Diaphoresis (sweating)
  • Swelling of the brain
  • Cerebral vascular accidents (CVA) or strokes
  • Kidney failure
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Mental health risks

  • Euphoria
  • Increases in alertness & awareness
  • Increased wakefulness and arousal
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Perception of a diminished requirement for food and sleep
  • Prolonged and intense panic attacks and anxiety
  • Extreme paranoid thoughts
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations

Effects of MDPV Use

The effects of MDPV include increased blood pressure, restlessness, heart palpitations, sweating and increased alertness and concentration. Although not much information has been provided about long-term use of this drug, many users have been reported to have experienced nausea, stomach cramps, increased body temperature, swelling of the brain, kidney failure, cerebral vascular accidents or strokes, intense panic attacks, anxiety, agitation, visual and auditory hallucinations, extreme paranoid thoughts and suicidal thoughts. There were also reports of coma and death.

Many claim MDPV to have sexual stimulation or aphrodisiac effects. But contrary to what has been said, this drug does not differ from other drugs. Its reputation as a sex-stimulating drug remains a myth.

Detecting MDPV

The substance remains undetected in standard urine, blood or saliva screening.  Although most urine drug screening test available to detect illicit and licit drugs like cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, opiates (Heroine), and benzodiazepines, there is a limited information available about the detection times and methods for MDPV.

Statistics and Sample Cases of People Using MDPV in the U.S.

On December 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice released an immediate drug alert watch on the increasing abuse of MDPV or bath salts over the past 12 months. In addition to bath salts, MDPV products are marketed as bath crystals, plant food, and herbal incense. The products are readily available at convenience stores, discount tobacco outlets, gas stations, pawnshops, tattoo parlors, and truck stops, among other locations. Their prices range from $25 to $50 per 50-milligram packet.

In the US alone, male and female abusers of MDPV range from teenagers to those in their 40s, often with an extensive history of drug abuse. Some abusers describe the effects as similar to methamphetamine, ecstasy, and cocaine, and one referred to the substances as “complete crank” while others used the term “fake cocaine.”

In Louisiana, at least 84 people are reported to have been hospitalized because of paranoia, fighting, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and physical effects such as hypertension and rapid heartbeat. Since the end of September, Louisiana Poison Control has received 165 calls from people in crisis after snorting, smoking or injecting these dangerous substances. This figure represents nearly 57 percent of calls recorded nationwide.

MDPV has already been added to the list of Schedule I drugs, under the Controlled Dangerous Substance Act. This makes MDPV illegal to possess, manufacture or distribute in Louisiana.


Statistics and Sample Cases of People Using MDPV in the United Kingdom

MDVP have been widely available in the UK for several years. In 2010, a number of overdoses have been reported in the country, including some deaths.

In Tadcaster, two teenagers were said to have been admitted to the hospital as a result of using MDVP. Following incidents associated with the use of MDVP includes 14-year old boy who flew into a rage at his home during the late evening of April 24; a 16-year-old girl was in a critical condition at York District Hospital after taking MDPV; and a 17-year-old local male was arrested on April 27 in connection with the supply of the drug.

Existing Bans on MDPV

On April 26, 2010, a ban on bath salt products that contain MDPV went into effect in the United Kingdom. MDPV is officially classified as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, making it illegal to sell, buy, or possess without a license.

In Finland, Denmark, and Sweden, MDPV is specifically listed as a controlled substance as of June 28, 2010.

In the United States, Louisiana officially added MDPV to the Controlled Dangerous Substance Act – making it illegal to possess, manufacture or distribute them in Louisiana.

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