When I was in grammar school, one of the high points of any school day was the distribution of a recently mimeographed quiz, Christmas pageant script, or note home with some important announcement.
As the copies were passed from student to student, we would take ours and breathe deeply.
Whatever the “special sauce” was that printed that purple on white paper, it had a definite aroma to it – alcohol and some other je ne sais quoi.
The nuns didn’t allow us many great pleasures, but they seemed to tolerate – at least for a second – the sight of 48 kids, nose pressed close to the newly mimeo’d whatever, all inhaling at once.
I also liked the smell of a gasoline, and used to fantasize about living over the pumps in this cool gas station on Route 9 that had an apartment built out over the station, the part over the pumps resting on stone pillars.
I don’t actually think that a whiff or either a mimeo’d catechism quiz or gasoline was all that intoxicating. But I sure liked it.
That said, I never huffed paint thinner, shook aspirins up in Pepsi bottles, did Reddi-Whip whippets, or did any of the other things that adolescents were supposed to do to get high. (Truly: during high school I was such a straight arrow, I never had a drink or smoked a cigarette, let alone lit up a joint. I wasn’t much of a substance user, let alone abuser, in college, either, for that matter. Being out of control and out of my mind was not all that high on my list of things to do.)
The latest bit of get-high derring-do involves bath salts, of all things.
Although I only take a bath salt bath once a year or so, I do tend to have them around.
I was easily able to lay my hands on a packet of Lord & Mayfair raspberry bath salts. They look like they came from a hotel stay, and promise to “appeal to your senses and skin while providing a refreshing balance to your day.” For adult use only, by the way.
Apparently there are bath salts uses that go above and beyond this appeal to skin and sense – this according to an AP article I saw in the Wall Street Journal.
Kids are apparently snorting, injecting and smoking bath salts, and doing quite a bit of harm to themselves in the process.
Some say the effects of the powders are as powerful as abusing methamphetamine. Increasingly, law enforcement agents and poison-control centers say the bath salts with complex chemical names are an emerging menace in several U.S. states where authorities talk of banning their sale.
It’s not clear whether all bath salts, like my little packet of Lord & Mayfair Raspberry, can be used to get high and/or are dangerous. Certainly, I’m not going to find out. If and when I ever use my packet, it will be by following the directions to the tee: pour contents into running bath water.
But Ivory Wave, Bliss, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning and Hurricane Charlie – which are the names named in the bath salts article, and which are all on sale OTC -
…can cause hallucinations, paranoia, rapid heart rates and suicidal thoughts.
(Interesting names. Ivory Wave, Bliss, and Vanilla Sky sound innocuous enough, but certainly something marketed as White Lightning or Hurricane Charlie is not aimed at those who are looking for a good, comforting soak in the tub.)
Anyway, given the potential disturbing effects of bath salt use, maybe I’ll just dispose of that Lord & Mayfair Raspberry in the trash. I certainly don’t want to be lolling around in the bath water worrying about hallucinations or suicidal thoughts. I’m paranoid enough already, thank you.
The rash of bad reactions to bath salts has been particularly acute in the south, and Louisiana has already outlawed bath salts. Mississippi and Kentucky are considering bans. (Apparently, they’re not aware that, when bath salts are outlawed, only outlaws will have bath salts.)
Not that I want to make light of this. There are reported instances of bath salt overdoses, suicides, murder under the influence, and, in the case of one young man who:
…got high on bath salts, he took his skinning knife and slit his face and stomach repeatedly.
The bad bath salts contain MDPV and mephedrone. These chemicals are made in a lab from cathinone, which is plant-based, and they apparently are addictive.
The bath salts problem may be growing because of crackdowns on the sale of pseudoephedrine, and the consequent blow to the methamphetamine business, which used pseudospehed as its prime ingredient. One police officer interviewed in the article pointed out that the bath salt users he’d been seeing were meth addicts.
It sounds to me as if trying to solve this problem by banning bath salts is a temporary fix. Meth heads who’d turned into bath salt heads will find something else to get high on until whatever’s causing them to use drugs like this is taken care of. Still, it’s got to be scary for parents to think that something that a pack of Vanilla Sky bath salts that could easily have found its way into their daughter’s Christmas stocking could be used to make their son slit his throat.
Ghastly news, this.
One more lousy thing to worry about.