Synthetic cathinones – often marketed with the name “bath salts” to side-step legal issues – contain one or more synthetic chemicals related to cathinones, an amphetamine-like stimulant found naturally in the Khat plant, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Synthetic cathinones may be ingested orally, inhaled, injected or snorted to obtain the energizing and agitating effects of these types of substances. They can also provide a surge in dopamine, yielding dangerous spikes in blood pressure and heart rate.
Users can display hallucinations, paranoia, panic attacks and erratic, unpredictable behavior, as well as risking dehydration, muscle breakdown, kidney failure, stroke and even death. In emergency rooms across the country, users in distress are often placed in medically induced comas to stabilize the individual as their care team works to identify the toxic compounds ingested.