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In response to the Huffington Post article, Bath Salts A Growing Drug Problem Officials Say, the question is not should we ban every chemical that could be potentially dangerous if snorted or ingested but why are people snorting and ingesting dangerous chemicals?

The article highlights the recent case of Neil Brown who got high on dangerous chemicals sold as bath salts. He took his skinning knife and slit his face and stomach repeatedly. Brown survived, but authorities say others haven’t been so lucky after snorting, injecting, or smoking powders with such innocuous-sounding names as Ivory Wave, Red Dove, and Vanilla Sky.

Instead of more government regulation, we need to look at the psychological reason for people from the Deep South to California making emergency calls reporting over-exposure to the stimulants the powders, which often contain mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, also known as MDPV.

The article states, “Sold under such names as Ivory Wave, Bliss, White Lightning and Hurricane Charlie, the chemicals can cause hallucinations, paranoia, rapid heart rates and suicidal thoughts, authorities say. The chemicals are in products sold legally at convenience stores and on the Internet as bath salts and even plant foods. However, they aren’t necessarily being used for the purposes on the label.”

Some of these chemicals are dangerous but people can use anything inappropriately. The question is: why are people snorting and should they be responsible or should we regulate every chemical that goes into every product?

Mississippi lawmakers this week began considering a proposal to ban the sale of the powders. From a psychological or mental health perspective, these calls to the poison center should have been followed up with mental health counseling. People who are ingesting bath salts have a problem.

In Brown’s case, he reportedly said, “he had tried every drug from heroin to crack and was so shaken by terrifying hallucinations that he wrote one Mississippi paper urging people to stay away from the advertised bath salts.”

Why is Brown trying every drug from heroin to crack and now bath salts? Why is he getting attention in the media instead of receiving mental health counseling?

“I couldn’t tell you why I did it,” Brown said, pointing to his scars. “The psychological effects are still there.”

The psychological effects most likely could be traced back much further to possible trauma and/or abuse, which hasn’t been addressed in therapy.

Yet, the article goes on to share that, “while Brown survived, sheriff’s authorities in one Mississippi County say they believe one woman overdosed on the powders there. In southern Louisiana, the family of a 21-year-old man says he cut his throat and ended his life with a gunshot. Authorities are investigating whether a man charged with capital murder in the December death of a Tippah County, Mississippi, sheriff’s deputy was under the influence of the bath salts.”

These stimulants aren’t regulated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, but are facing federal scrutiny. Law officers say some of the substances are being shipped from Europe, but origins are still unclear. You cannot regulate stimulants and bath salts and every other chemical. Until we regulate the mental health needs of the people in this country, we are fighting an losing battle.

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