Look out for ‘bath salts’

Shelly Sloan is the Health Promotion Coordinator and Ted Winkworth is the Alcohol and Other Drug Program Coordinator. You can find them at The Lifestyles Center in Walker Health Center. Shelly received her master’s degree in community health education and is a Certified in Health Education Specialist. Ted received his master’s degree in counseling and is also a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor.


Dear Shelly and Ted,

I have been hearing about bath salts and recently my roommate was talking about trying it. I’m scared. What does this stuff do?


Dear Salt Scrutinizer,

I’m guessing you are referring to the synthetic stimulants that are sold at some head shops and gas stations under the false name “bath salts.” If your roommate is attempting to snort Epson salts from Bed Bath & Beyond he/she is likely going to need you to call poison control and provide a ride to the hospital. Actually, the bath salts you are talking about could end up having the same outcome.

Bath salts are not the beginning of the zombie apocalypse and do not directly cause people to eat each other’s faces. That is where the good news (or bad news for you zombie enthusiasts) ends. Since Mephedrone and MDPV (3-4 Methylenedioxypyrovalerone) are central nervous stimulants similar to meth, it has many of the same outcomes. These can incluse insomnia, irritability, dizziness, paranoia, seizures and panic attacks to name a few.

The bottom line is that this stuff is only legal because of some chemical tricks, not because it is safe or good for you. If you are looking for more information, do a google search of “meth face” and you’ll see what I mean.



Dear Shelly and Ted,

Last week I saw someone sniffing glass cleaner to get a buzz. What is wrong with kids these days?


Dear Glass Gawker,

What you likely saw was someone abusing a synthetic drug that was sold in a head shop. Recently, a new trend has occurred where chemists produce a drug that is similar to illegal drugs of abuse such as cocaine, methamphetamine or marijuana and sell it under a misleading name such as “glass cleaner,” “bath salts,” or “incense”. While a bottle of Windex typically costs less than $5, “glass cleaner” costs $60. What is worse is the rude awakening to be had by clean-glass enthusiasts when they try to wash their windows with this new powder.

What is important for you to know is that these new designer drugs are in no way good for you. In many cases they are more dangerous than the illegal drugs that they are trying to mimic. They have the same addictive properties of cocaine or methamphetamine with added risk of heart attacks and seizures due to the chemicals that are used to synthesize them. These drugs are really just a way for companies to make a quick buck with little care for the health or well being of their users.



Dear Real Talk,

I have heard that hookah is less harmful than cigarettes. Is that true?


Dear Hookah Hopeful,

The short answer is no. According to the American Lung Association, hookah smoking appears to be associated with lung cancer, respiratory disease, low birth weight in babies and have similar effects on a person’s breathing- just like cigarettes. Researchers are finding that hookah smokers may inhale larger amounts of smoke than cigarette smokers during a single smoking session. In one session, a single smoker can inhale 10 cigarettes worth of nicotine which increases the already high addiction potential.

In addition to the harmful effects of the tobacco, the use of shared mouthpieces during smoking sessions can spread infectious diseases such as cold, flu and maybe even a little herpes if you are extra unlucky. I would likely avoid the whole thing altogether.



If you have a question you can submit anonymously at www.lifestylecenter.net/RealTalk or send a direct message on Twitter @LSC_Oswego

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