There is a new drug fad on the market that many are confused about because it goes by the well-publicized street name of “bath salts.” Rest assured, this new chemical is not the same as the spa product that is used in manicure and pedicure soaks; however, some spa manufacturers are having to address consumer concerns about their products.
The drug, which became illegal under the U.S. Drug Enforcement Association (DEA) on October 21, 2011, is a dangerous combination of mephedrone, MDPV, and methylone. None of those ingredients are in reputable spa bath salts. Indeed, according to the DEA, it is illegal to be in possession of or sell any of the three ingredients in the drug.
In a recent press release, Mark Zoske, founder and CEO of SaltWorks Inc., helps set the record straight that spa salts, including those his company sells, are not the same as the drug. “SaltWorks’ bath salts are made of essential oils and sea salt,” Zoske said. “They are absolutely not intended for smoking, snorting, or injecting.”
To make matters worse for legitimate spa salt providers, the illegal drug is sometimes packaged as a spa bath salt in an attempt to allude police. According to Barbara Carreno, a spokesperson for the DEA, the drug is sometimes packaged with labels calling it bath salts, going so far as to include text on the packaging with directions to “add to warm water” or stating “not for human consumption” in an effort to disguise it. “That’s a ruse,” Carreno told NAILS. “Everything about that product is a lie.”
Wayne Miller, owner of legitimate spa salts company Maxim LLC, said one way to separate legitimate spa salts from the drug is that the drug is typically sold in small convenience stores and corner markets, not in larger stores where legitimate bath salt products are sold. The DEA’s Carreno adds that the illegal drug is typically sold by the gram or microgram and is fairly expensive for its size versus spa bath salts, which are available in up to large back-bar sizes.
Maxim LLC’s Miller told NAILS he has heard a few comments on the subject of illegal bath salts and even had a distributer in Nevada that required his company to certify that none of the illegal chemicals were in Maxim’s bath salts. However, he hasn’t had any calls from concerned customers.
“I think a lot of people are intelligent enough now to know that it’s a totally different thing,” Miller said. “I think a lot of people see through it.”
Carreno said the drug used to be sold out in the open on retailer’s shelves (sometimes the retailer didn’t even know what it was being used for) before it became illegal. Now, shop owners typically place it behind the counter (out of the view of the police). According to the DEA, this drug is commonly sold over the Internet, in convenience stores, and in gas stations. It usually comes in white, off-white, or yellow powder form as well as tablet, capsule, and injection forms.
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