How are Bath Salts used to Get High?

by baladmin | August 14, 2014

There are two types of Bath Salts. The first is water-soluble powder or beads that are added to bath water. These baths salts are added to bath water to soften the skin while providing a soothing bathing experience. Bath salts for water are not the same as the bath salts being used to get high. Bath Salts has become a street or slang term used to describe a new group of designer drugs that are sold in convenience stores, gas stations, head shops, on the internet and in tobacco stores. These artificially designed drugs called Bath Salts are stimulants that produce a high similar to cocaine, LSD, Methamphetamine, or Ecstasy. Other street names for Bath Salts include: Mad Cow, Ivory, Fertilizer, Vanilla Sky & Cloud 9. The stores are able to sell these products because the labels on bath salts state that they are “not for human consumption”.

Snorting & Inhaling Bath Salts

One of the popular methods of abusing bath salts is by inhaling and snorting them. Inhaling bath salts is also referred to as bagging, huffing, sniffing or dusting typically through the nose or mouth. Chemically soaking a rag while holding it to the face or putting it in the mouth to inhale is called Huffing.

Most abused drugs directly or indirectly target the brain’s reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. When bath salts are inhaled the effect is up to 10 times greater than the body’s natural dopamine rewards, it is also immediate and the high lasts longer.

Sniffing is done directly from containers, plastic bags, clothing or rags saturated with substance or from the product directly. With Bagging, substances are sprayed or deposited into a plastic or paper bag and the vapors are inhaled. This method can result in suffocation if a bag is placed over a person’s head.

Acute Effects & Health Risks of Bath Salts

In adolescents the risks include premature stoppage of growth. In females the heath risks include menstrual irregularities, development of a beard and other masculine characteristics. In males prostrate cancer, reduced sperm production, shrunken testicles, and breast enlargement.

Signs & Symptoms of Inhaling Bath Salts

  • Stimulation
  • Loss of Inhibition
  • Headache
  • Nausea or Vommiting
  • Slurred Speach
  • Loss of Motor Coordination
  • Wheezing/Cramps
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Depression
  • Memory Impairment
  • Damage to Cardiovascular and Nervous Systems
  • Unconsciousness
  • Sudden Death


As a person continues to abuse and inhale baths salts, the brain recognizes this and produces less dopamine and/or reduces the number of dopamine receptors. The result is a lessening of dopamine impact on the reward circuit which reduces the abusers ability to get high. More and more is needed to achieve the high.

Treatment & Recovery

If you are a parent and suspect that your son or daughter is huffing bath salts seek treatment immediately. Emergency rooms are filled today with young adults and teens who are abusing bath salts. Long term drug treatment for a minimum of 90 days is suggested for those addicted to inhalants.

Balboa Horizons is a 90 day inpatient drug treatment program located in Newport Beach, California. Please call us today if you or someone you know needs help: 1(866) 316-4012