Synthetic Cathinones, MDPV, Mephedrone & Methylone
What are synthetic cathinones aka "Bath Salts"
The term ‘bath salts’ refer to commercially available products that have as part of their composition a legal stimulant called 3, 4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or MDPV (sometimes another synthetic stimulant called Mephedrone and less commonly a synthetic stimulant called Methylone). These synthetic stimulants are in a class of drug known as synthetic cathinones.
Synthetic cathinones are related to the parent compound cathinone (found naturally in the plant Khat, which has cathinone producing a mild stimlative effect). Since the mid-2000s, unregulated ring-substituted cathinone derivatives have appeared in the European and American recreational drugs market. The most commonly available synthetic cathinones sold on the recreational market in the period up to 2011 appear to be 3, 4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, and methylone. These products are usually encountered as highly pure white or brown powders. Cathinone derivatives are claimed to have effects similar to those of cocaine, amphetamine or MDMA (ecstasy), but little is known of their detailed pharmacology.
Currently illegal in New Jersey and in other states, and about to be illegal nationally (See "Legal Section" below for details). They are sold mostly on the internet, but can also be found in select shops locally. They're known by a variety of names, including "Red Dove," "Blue Silk," "Zoom," "Bloom," "Cloud Nine," "Ocean Snow," "Lunar Wave," "Vanilla Sky," "Ivory Wave," "White Lightning," "Scarface" “Purple Wave,” “Blizzard,” “Star Dust,” "Lovey, Dovey," “Snow Leopard,” "Aura," and "Hurricane Charlie.” While they have become popular under the guise of selling as "bath salts", they are sometimes sold as other products such as insect repellant, or the latest iteration of products called jewelry cleaner or IPOD screen cleaners, pump-it-up powder, IPOD cleaner, etc.
Much like the marketing of Synthetic Cannabinoids (Spice/K2) as incense, MDPV has been market as “bath salts” and just like Spice/K2 MDPV is specifically labeled “not for human consumption.”
What are MDPV and Mephedrone?
As stated before, MDPV is a legal stimulant who's chemical name is 3, 4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, and is the active ingredient in "Bath Salts". A DEA report from December 2010 states that “preliminary testing indicates that the active ingredients in many brands [of bath salts] contain MDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone) and/or mephedrone.” Mephedrone, also known as 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC), or 4-methylephedrone, is a synthetic stimulant drug of the amphetamine and cathinone classes. Slang names include “meph,” “drone,” “MCAT,” and "meow, meow."
Mephedrone is reportedly manufactured in China and is chemically similar to the cathinone compounds found in the khat plant of eastern Africa. It comes in the form of tablets or a powder, which users can swallow, snort or inject, producing similar effects to MDMA, amphetamines and cocaine. Because of the emergent nature of this class of substances, there has been some questioning as to what is in the composition of ‘bath salts’, though most evidence is leaning towards MDPV as being the compound of choice currently in ‘bath salts’.
In the United States, MDPV was packaged as “bath salts” but easy research from the internet showed that “bath salts” such as ‘Ivory Wave’ were being packaged as legal alternative stimulant drugs, and avoid prosecution by putting “Not For Human Consumption” on the packaging. However, some of these can barely contain themselves for what they really are, with one brand having a picture of Al Pacino’s ‘Scarface’ on its packaging.
They are sold over the internet, and on the street, in convenience stores, discount tobacco outlets, gas stations, pawnshops, tattoo parlors, and truck stops, among other locations. The various brands are sold in 50-milligram to 500-milligram packets. Prices range from $25 to $50 per 50-milligram packet.
What are will be in Generation 2 and 3 of Bath Salts?
Generation 2 of Bath Salts have been hitting the internet market already, with the DEA's temporary ban of MDPV, Mephedrone and Methylone. Naphyrone has been found in samples of what is being labeled online as "Cosmic Blast" a "jewelry cleaner". There are products (of substances unknown) that are on the internet labeled as "IPOD/Phone Screen Cleaner" and other various covers, as it appears that "bath salts" became too viral of a product name and drug dealers have now moved on to other, more obscure product naming schemes.
Cosmic Blast, marketed as a jewelry cleaner, is a stimulant/hallucinogen that is being marketed in the same way bath salts were. Drug sellers don’t seem to care about US drug law in that samples of Cosmic Blast that have been tested in toxicology laboratories which came up positive for not only Naphyrone, but also MDPV. Naphyrone (which became popular in the UK after their ban of Mephedrone in 2010), is also known as O-2482 and naphthylpyrovalerone, is a drug derived from pyrovalerone that acts as a triple reuptake inhibitor, producing stimulant effects and has been reported as a novel designer drug. No safety or toxicity data is available on the drug). Anecdotal reports of Naphyrone are it can stay in your body for long periods and since it is a reuptake inhibitor of Serotonin, which is implicated in body heat regulation, body temperatures can soar upwards of 107-108 degrees.
Bruce Talbot, a former police officer and expert on emergent drug trends expressed the following concerns regarding MDPV and what could likely happen now that MDPV, Mephedrone and Methylone have become illegal. He suspects that now that MDPV, Mephedrone and Methylone have finally been added to an emergency ban, they will likely “be replaced by 4'-methyl-a-pyrrolidinopropiophenone (MPPP) and 3',4'-methylenedioxy-a-pyrrolidinopropiophenone (MDPPP).”
What has been seen with K2/Spice is the U.S. government pushing to ban certain of the synthetic cannabinoids (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP 49,479 and CP 49,479 C8, though they are trying a global sweep of this class by banning anything that binds to the CB1 receptors), but the companies making K2/Spice came out with the same product sprayed with chemicals not covered by state or national bans.
The same pattern is possible with the chemicals in "bath salts" (despite the drug using community moving on from the term "bath salts" it has become the name of recognition for this class of syntethic drugs). The following drugs would likely replace MDPV, Mephedrone and Methylone now that these three are banned nationally. These "chemical cousins include: a-pyrrolidinopropiophenone (a-PPP) little is known about this compound, but it has been detected by laboratories in Germany as an ingredient in "ecstasy" tablets seized by law enforcement authorities; 4'-methyl-a-pyrrolidinopropiophenone (MPPP) is a stimulant drug. It is very structurally similar to a-PPP. MPPP was sold in Germany as a designer drug in the late 1990s and early 2000s, although it has never achieved the same international popularity as its better-known relations a-PPP and MDPV; and 3',4'-methylenedioxy-a-pyrrolidinopropiophenone (MDPPP) which is a stimulant designer drug. It was sold in Germany in the late 1990s and early 2000s as an ingredient in imitation ecstasy (MDMA) pills. It shares a similar chemical structure with a-PPP and MDPV.
Not to be outdone, but as soon as popular media/government gets wind of one generation, newer variants are alreadying hitting the streets. In generation 3of these chemicals, chemists in national labs in the US have been finding these products:
Pentedrone - also known as 2-(methylamino)-1-phenylpentan-1-one or a-methylamino-valerophenone, is a designer drug with presumably stimulant effects, which has been found since 2010 as an ingredient in a number of "bath salt" mixes sold as legal highs.
Alpha-PVP - a-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-Pyrrolidinovalerophenone,a-PVP, O-2387,alpha-PVP) is a stimulant compound developed in the 1960s and related to pyrovalerone. The mechanism of action is unknown for a-pyrrolidinopentiophenone. a-PVP is believed to act similarly to the designer drug MDPV, which acts as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI), although no substantial research on this compound has been conducted.
3, 4 DMMC - 3,4-Dimethylmethcathinone is a stimulant drug first reported in 2010 as a designer drug analogue of mephedrone, apparently produced in response to the banning of mephedrone, following its widespread abuse in many countries in Europe and around the world. This has been found to a lesser extent.
Laundry List of Future Possibilities - Substituted Cathinones
Substituted cathinones, which include some stimulants and entactogens, are derivatives of cathinone. The derivatives may be produced by substitutions at four different locations of the cathinone molecule.
a-Phthalimidopropiophenone a-PPP a-PBP
MDPV was developed in the 1960s, and has been used for the treatment of chronic fatigue, but caused problems of abuse and dependence.
1969: Boehringer Ingelheim files a patent application for MDPV.
2005: MDPV appears as a recreational drug; first mention on Drugs-Forum.
2007: First seizure of MDPV as a recreational drug, by customs officials in the German state of Saxony. The drug had been shipped from China.
2008: First seizure of MDPV in the United States.
2009: MDPV made illegal in Denmark.
2010: MDPV made a controlled drug in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Australia and Finland. First reports of the widespread retail marketing of 'bath salts' containing MDPV in the US. The US considers both Mephedrone (July, 2010) and MDPV (December, 2010) "a drug and chemical of concern".
2011: MDPV sale and possession are banned in the US states of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington State (as of November 3, 2011), West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, with legislation being introduced in many other states. The DEA moved to temporarily ban MDPV, Mephedrone and Methylone on October 21, 2011. This ban will last 12 months with the possibility of an additional 6 month extension while the DEA deatermines whether these 3 synthetic stimulants should be permanently classified as scheduled substances.
2012: Permanent US ban is imminent on few, select chemicals. In 2012 the Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act – Synthetic Drugs, which will list MDPV and Mephedrone, but not Methylone.
The Effects of MDPV/Mephedrone ("Bath Salts")
MDPV is a powerful stimulant that functions as a dopamine-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). It has stimulatory effects on the central nervous system and cardiovascular system. Physical symptoms include: rapid heartbeat, increase in blood pressure, vasoconstriction, sweating. Mental symptoms include: euphoria, increases in alertness & awareness, increased wakefulness and arousal, anxiety, agitation, perception of a diminished requirement for food and sleep, and intense desire to re-dose. MDPV reportedly has four times the potency of Ritalin and Concerta. MDPV is sometimes labeled online as legal cocaine or legal amphetamines.
The effects have a duration of roughly 3 to 4 hours, with after effects such as tachycardia, hypertension, and mild stimulation lasting from 6 to 8 hours. High doses have been observed to cause intense, prolonged panic attacks in stimulant-intolerant users, and there are anecdotal reports of psychosis from sleep withdrawal and addiction at higher doses or more frequent dosing intervals. It's addiction potential is not fully known at this time. However, one of the effects of MDPV is an intense desire to redose and there have been online reports from both professionals and users that MDPV is “strongly addicting”.
New research (December 14, 2011) by scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) indicates that the active compounds in "bath salts" (mephedrone and methylone) bind to monoamine transporters on the surface of some neurons. This in turn leads to an increase in the brain chemical serotonin, and to a lesser extent, dopamine, suggesting a mechanism that could underlie the addictive potential of these compounds.
The NIDA report states: “Our data demonstrate that designer methcathinone analogs are substrates for monoamine transporters, with a profile of transmitter-releasing activity comparable to 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, or 'ecstasy'). Given the widespread use of mephedrone and methylone, determining the consequences of repeated drug exposure warrants further study.”
Are There Any Dangers Involved in Using "Bath Salts" (MDPV, Mephedrone)
Yes. Until a drug is tested, it cannot be considered safe. MDPV and its ‘chemical cousins’ have not been tested by the FDA and thus little is known as to the harm potential. Some anecdotal stories involving ‘bath salt’ usage and their potential for harm come in news stories from across the nation, local emergency room reports and data collected from the American Association of Poison Control Center.
In 2010 there were 303 calls about MDPV (bath salt) products according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS).
As of April 30, 2012 poison centers reported 1007 calls for all of 2012 (6,138 calls in 2011). This shows the trend of how popular this class of drug has become, but it also shows that since the national ban, decreased usage, in the form of poison control center calls, is evident (1,007 calls in the first 4 months of 2012 and 2,027 calls in the same time period of 2011).
Since the National ban MDPV, Mephedrone and Methylone on October 21, 2011, November 2011 saw 231 calls reported, December 2011 - 222 calls, January 2012 - 222 calls, February 2012 - 230 calls, March 2012 – 264 calls, and April 2012 saw 285 calls. This is clear evidence that the national and state bans are having an impact on the use of, and medical necessity reasons to contact emergency rooms, for the chemicals that comprise “bath salts”.
The effects of synthetic cathinones can be wide ranging and in many instances dangerous. Here is a listing of the effects:
Bruxism (grinding teeth)
Extreme anxiety sometimes progressing to violent behavior
Fits and delusions
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Increased body temperature, chills, sweating
Lack of appetite
Loss of bowel control
Vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels)
Nausea, stomach cramps, and digestive problems
Rhabdomyolysis (release of muscle fiber contents [myoglobin] that could lead to kidney problems)
Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
How Legal/Illegal is MDPV, Mephedrone and Methylone ("Bath Salts") Nationally and in New Jersey?
On October 21, 2011 the DEA finalized a move to enact a temproary emergency control (ban) of three synthetic stimulants. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is using its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control three synthetic stimulants (Mephedrone, 3,4 methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and Methylone). Except as authorized by law, this action will make possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled. This emergency action was necessary to prevent an imminent threat to the public safety.
As stated earlier this temporary ban has been folded into the Food and Drug Administration's Safety and Innovation Act. In 2012 the Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act – Synthetic Drugs, which will list MDPV and Mephedrone, but not Methylone. Given the comprehensive list above of synthetic cathinones, this law could potentially do very little to stop the proliferation of "bath salts". This bill is also attempting to extend the temporary ban timespan from 18 months (12 months initial temporary ban with a possible 6 month extention), to 36 months.
MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone and 3 other synthetic cathinones are now illegal in New Jersey as of April 28, 2011. MDPV is getting the attention in many states as they talk about what to do with this substance, in terms of making it a scheduled controllable substance. In New Jersey, the 6 banned substances are:
3,4 – Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV)
4 – Methylmethcathinone (Mephedrone, 4-MMC)
3,4 – Methylenedioxymethcathinone (Methylone, MDMC)
4 – Methoxymethcathinone (Methedrone, bk-PMMA, PMMC)
4 – Fluoromethcathinone (Flephedrone, 4-FMC)
3 – Fluoromethcathinone (3-FMC)
This ban in New Jersey was caused by very swift action by the legislature and Division of Consumer Affairs. On March 16, 2011, it was announced Assembly Deputy Speaker John McKeon (D-Essex), Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union), and state Senator John Girgenti (D-Passaic) sponsored the legislation introduced into the Assembly and Senate, that led to the ban on Mephedrone and MDPV and the 4 other synthetic stimulants 6 weeks later.
Governor Christie made this temporary action permanent by signing Pamela's Law, banning the sale and possession of the 6 aforementioned synthetic cathinones. Pamela's Law was named after Pamela Schmidt, a 22-year-old Rutgers student who is believed to have been murdered by her boyfriend, Bill Parisio, who is said to have been under the influence of “bath salts” at the time of the March incident. However, toxicology results of Mr. Parisio taken shortly after the murder showed there were none of these synthetic stimulants in his system.
MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone] and/or Butylone are currently illegal in 38 states as of June 29, 2012 (Apologies if any states are missing):
Alabama (MDPV, Mephedrone)
Arkansas (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone])
Arizona (Unknown which chemicals are banned)
Delaware (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone)
Florida (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, BK-PMMA)
Georgia (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone])
Hawaii (MDPV, Mephedrone)
Idaho (MDPV, Mephedrone)
Indiana (Unknown which chemicals are banned)
Iowa (Unknown which chemicals are banned)
Kansas (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone], Butylone)
Kentucky (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone)
Louisiana (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone])
Maine (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone], Butylone)
Michigan (Unknown which chemicals are banned)
Minnesota (Unknown which chemicals are banned)
Mississippi (MDPV, Mephedrone)
Missouri (MDPV, Mephedrone, MPBP [4'-Methyl-a-pyrrolidinobutiophenone])
New Jersey (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone])
New Mexico (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone])
New York (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone])
North Carolina (MDPV, Mephedrone)
North Dakota (Mephedrone only)
Ohio (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone]) – Effective October 15, 2011.
Oklahoma (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone])
Oregon (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone], Butylone)
Pennsylvania (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone])
South Carolina (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone)
South Dakota (Unknown which chemicals are banned)
Tennessee (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone])
Texas (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone])
Utah (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone], Butylone)
Virginia (MDPV, Mephedrone)
Washington (MDPV, Mephedrone, and synthetic cannabinoids, analogues) – Effective November 3, 2011
West Virginia (MDPV, Mephedrone)
Wisconsin (MDPV, Mephedrone)
Wyoming (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, 3-FMC, 4-FMC [Flephedrone], BK-PMMA [Methedrone])
As Schedule I CDS in NJ, the drugs are now subject to the strictest level of state control. Manufacture, distribution, sale, or possession of the chemicals is now a third-degree crime. Violators may be subject to a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for a three- to five-year term.
While we applaud this swift action by NJ, all that needs to happen is for the makers of "bath salts" to replace their current synthetic stimulant(s) (MDPV, Mephedrone and Methylone) with not yet banned stimulants. Then we could possibly see variants of "bath salts" back on the streets of New Jersey before long. This is exactly what has happened with the March 1, 2011 national ban on synthetic cannabinoids.
On March 1st, the DEA announced the ban of 5 synthetic cannabinoids (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP 47,497 and CP 47,497 C8), however, before the ban was in place, generation 2 of synthetic cannabinoids were already being sold in NJ convenience stores with the makers touting none of the banned substances being in their product. See more about sythetic cannabinoids by clicking here.
In Pennsylvania (on June 23, 2011), SB 1006 was passed by the House, Senate and approved by the Governor. This bill SB 1006 bans 6 synthetic stimulants including MDPV and Mephedrone (this PA bill bans the same 6 synthetic stimulants that NJ banned on April, 28, 2011). This bill is also proposing to ban sativa and 8 synthetic cannabinoids and their analogues. You can view SB 1006's history by clicking here.
An amendment added to the PA SB 1006 also includes language barring all chemicals that are similar to the substances that are currently found in bath salts, synthetic cannabinoids and 2C (hallucinogens such as 2C-E, 2C-I, 2C-P, 2C-H and their analogues, congeners, homologues, isomers, salts and salts of analogues, congeners, homologues and isomers), and prohibits those chemical compounds from being used to create the same effect as the current bath salts, sytnthetic cannabinoids and 2C chemical structures. This addition to the law will make Pennsylvania’s the strongest such law in the nation.
As historical perspective, these drugs got on the US Government radar in December, 2010, when the DEA published a report listing MDPV as a drug of concern. On February 1, 2011 Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, released the following statement following recent reports indicating the emergent threat of these synthetic stimulants, stating that he was “deeply concerned,” and that “public health officials are working on this emerging issue.” These drugs have been around long before then, and very few of them are being banned 2 years after this first statement by the US Government.
In December, 2010, the DEA made a brief statement: “Currently, MDPV is not a scheduled drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). However, if intended for human consumption, MDPV can be considered an analogue of a schedule I drug under the CSA (Title 21 United States Code 813). Therefore, law enforcement cases involving MDPV can be prosecuted under the Federal Analogue Act of the CSA.” However, all “bath salts” clearly state “Not for Human Consumption”.
In states where MDPV is not a scheduled drug currently, if the intention is to use it for human consumption, its structural similarity to illegal drugs of abuse means that it could be considered by law enforcement officials as a controllable substance analogue (under the Federal Analogue Act).
When a federal ban is finally enacted on a drug, it does not mean local authorities will take action on this drug. States still need to enact legislation to ban the substances in order for state (then local) authorities to take action. Federal bans will go after larger distributors, but it will be locally determined as to whether users and smaller, local distributors (such as non-chain convenience stores and gas stations) will be sought after without a state ban.
Legislation Done Right? - Washington State Preview
In April, 2011, Washington State put a temporary ban on some of the chemicals comprising bath salts (MDPV, Mephedrone and Methylone), and at the same time synthetic cannabinoids. They enacted another emergency temporary ban as the first one was in danger of expiring. On October 3rd, they have possibly put together legislation that not only every State should imitate, but so should the Federal Government.
According to a blog on SeattleWeekly.com (link below in the links section), Washington has not only permanently banned these substances but has introducted legislation which bans future versions (or analogues) of them.
On October 3rd, 2011 (ban to take place starting November 3, 2011) the Board of Pharmacy in Washington State moved to not only permanently outlaw the substances and their active ingredients, but also a broad swath of related chemicals that, in some instances, haven't even been invented yet. Department of Health spokeswoman Julie Graham says it is the first time Washington has "taken action to ban broader, general classifications of chemicals."
"It's designed to keep a little bit ahead of the chemistry," Graham says. "There are two kind of fundamental chemical make-ups for the Spice [synthetic marijuana] or the bath salts. Basically, what this rule does is it says that any use of these two formulas or tweaking of the chemicals there within that classification will be covered under the law. It covers the existing ones and modifications to those basic chemical structures.
We are currently researching the actual law and the text of that law.
How Long Do These Substances Stay in Your System?
Redwood Toxicology Laboratory currently state they have detection for MDPV and Mephedrone. They do not have detection for a-PPP, MPPP or MDPPP in urine drug screens. The cost for the 2 panel is $40 ($30 if you do enough volume and have your entire drug screen business with Redwood Toxicology Laboratory), and $55 ($40) for the 14 panel test. There is reportedly a 48-72 hour detection window, depending on dosing.
Redwood has a 2 panel drug test (MDPV, Mephedrone) and a 14 panel drug test which tests for the following drugs:
Butylone (ß-keto-N-methylbenzodioxolylpropylamine, bk-MBDB)
Cathinone (Khat or Benzoylethanamine)
Ethylone (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-ethylcathinone, MDEC, bk-MDEA)
MBDB (Methylbenzodioxolylbutanamine, Methyl-J, “Eden”)
MDA (3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine, tenamfetamine)
MDEA (3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-ethylamphetamine, MDEA, MDE, “Eve”)
MDPV (Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, Cloud 9, Ivory Wave, White Lightning)
MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, ecstasy, “E”, “X”)
Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone [4-MMC], 4-methylephedrone, “Meph”, “MCat”)
Methcathinone (a-methylamino-propiophenone, may be confused with mephedrone)
Methylone (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylcathinone, bk-MDMA, MDMC, “M1”)
TFMPP (3-Trifluoromethylphenylpiperazine, “Legal X”)
Are "Bath Salts" causing the Zombie Apocalypse?: An Analysis
With the recent escalation of cannabalism and other assorted grisly mayhem in the news as of late, "bath salts" have been linked to some of them and due to this link, the popular, trending term "zombie apocolypse" on the internet has been tied, to a certain extent, to the use of "bath salts" in association with these gruesome, tragic events. Thus we will end this article by taking a critical look at this.
"The Anecodotal Evidence": One year before the internet became lit up with the "zombie apocalypse" this man was setting trends and putting a face on the potential extreme dangers that can occur with "bath salts" usage:
WV man found over slayed pet pygmy goat while in woman's underwear- Yes he was on bath salts, and yes his story is intriguing, with the cross dressing slant having an amusing tone about it.
Rutgers Student William Parisio, Accused In Pamela Schmidt's Murder, Used 'Bath Salts' To Get High. Intriguing yes, and actually led to NJ's law banning bath salts which was titled "Pamela's Law". However, after the law was enacted before the toxicology reports came back negative for "bath salts".
Then in May of 2012, came a rash of horrific crimes against humanity, against oneself, and with "bath salts" being implicated in each without evidence. NJ man flings his own intestines at police. This person has a history of psychiatric issues, and "contrary to widespread accounts circulating online about the incident, police found no indication that Carter had used bath salts or any other substance, but the possibility of drug use is still under investigation" the article states.
Now what really started the link between "bath salts" and the "zombie apocalypse" was this extremely gruesome, yet infamous, May 2012 "zombie man" Rudy Eugene who ate 75% of another man's face". This story has been tied so closely with "bath salts" usage, and it is the crime that sparked the trending popularity of the term "zombie apocalypse", causing the attacker's mother to make a public statement that her son is no zombie, and his girlfriend to say he was either on drugs or cursed and spawned articles about why bath salts are dangerous ... despite the fact that toxicology reports had not even come back and there was no evidence of any drug use at the scene of the crime (or evidence of bath salt use). On June 27th, 2012 the toxicology reports came back stating there were no bath salts found in his system. However, what the popular media does not report is that it only tested for 6 chemicals, so given the ever changing nature of this drug front, this is at best an incomplete report. Now on the subject of whether or not Rudy Eugene was a zombie, if he were, he was very bad zombie/cannibal as no human flesh was found in his stomach.
Articles throughout the country are spreading about bath salts and the unique characteristics people under the influence exhibit, such as super human strength.
Even days after the "zombie apocalypse" seemed to be dying down (pardon the pun), CNN wouldn't let it do so and started printing "news stories" about user accounts of bath salts, and subtley try to link them to the supernatural with their article title: Former bath-salts addict: "It felt so evil" ... and the picture of a male in front of what appears to be trailer park homes isn't unintentional.
Zombie Bears? There were drugs found in the car (where the bear dragged the guy's corpse out of), but no word on whether the bear took any of the drugs beforehand, and no word on whether the bear was drug tested afterwards.
Of course it doesn't help but to stoke the fire (or more appropriately, add to the feeding frenzy), when the Center for Disease Control writes a now defunct May, 2011 blog and have a permanent web presence instructing people on how to best handle a zombie apocalypse. Although our government actually showing a sense of humor is probably the most positive thing seen in quite some time.
The Facts: MDPV, Mephedrone, and other synthetic cathinones can cause serious psychiatric symptoms in people who have never exhibited such symptoms prior to usage. This can happen for some, while others will never experience these symptoms under the influence of these chemicals. However, the prevalence of people having abreactions is evident in Poison Control Center data, and in these types of anecdotal stories linked above. For those who have pre-existing psychiatric problems, ingesting these substances can further fracture and intensify these pre-existing psychiatric symptoms, which can be expressed in violent ways by some. There is no evidence of continued "zombiefication" of bath salt users after the drugs have left their system. Thus any zombie like tendencies (i.e., aggression leading to the severe mutilation of oneself or others) that could possibly exist, would only do so while under the influence, and wouldn't persist after the effects of the drug have left a person's system. Sorry, no Hollywood zombie apocalypse is evident with "bath salts" ingestion, only tragic consequences.
The Conclusion: "Bath Salts" are man made derivatives (i.e., synthetics) of naturally occurring stimulants, created and popularized by "armchair chemists" driven by profit potential and whose business acumen is much more developed than their chemistry abilities. The people ingesting these substances are what are known as in the gaming community as "beta testers" of products which cause such volatile reactions in some, that this "beta stress test" is obviously failing with oft-times gruesome, tragic (yet sadly "popular" and "trending") results. But this unfortunately will not stop many from continuing down this path of using these potentially dangerous, untested, unregulated (in terms of the actual making of the drugs), synthetic drugs. Thus while the popularization, and light-heartedness of the "zombie apocalypse" is shedding a new light on the potential dangers of these class of drugs, it is quite possible that message gets lost due to the glib way it is being presented in the (social) media.
Information from this article was gathered from the following sources:
NJ's Pamela's Law - NJ Law banning 6 Synthetic Cathinones (MDPV, Mephedrone, Methylone, Methedrone, Flephedrone, and 3-FMC).
Synthetic Cathinones - European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
American Association of Poison Control Centers. (2012). Bath Salts Data Updated May 23, 2012.
DEA. (October 21, 2011). - Chemicals Used in "Bath Salts” Now Under Federal Control and Regulation. (DEA Will Study Whether To Permanently Control Three Substances).
Linkedin.com. (2011). Emerging Drugs of Abuse Threads (Information quoting Mr. Bruce Talbot). The Emerging Drugs of Abuse forum is managed by J. Randall Webber.
Bangor Daily News Online – Maine Politics. ‘Bath salts’ ban takes effect; state’s top cop seeks to halt drug’s march into Maine.
Delaware Officials Ban Sale of 'Bath Salts’ - FoxNews.com. (September 30, 2011).
Washington Permanently Bans Bath Salts and Synthetic Marijuana--and Some Chemicals That Haven't Been Invented Yet. - SeattleWeekly.com (October 3, 2011)
Wikipedia - Naphyone - Possible Generation 2 "Bath Salts" chemical.
Substituted Cathinones - The listing of analogues that could be used for "bath salts" was accessed from this page.
Information from the slide “Synthetic Cathinones Effects Summary Sheet” was taken from: Martha Hunt, M.A., CAMF, Health Promotion & Wellness, Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms, MCAGCC, Box 788250, Twentynine Palms, CA 92278. PowerPoint presentation entitled “Bath Salts or Designer Cathinones”, August 9, 2011. Accessed September, 14, 2011.