What Are the Effects of Mixing Bath Salts and Alcohol?
Bath salts are a synthetic drug that has many dangerous side effects. Most people who use bath salts are aware that there are dangers involved in using the substance, but they may not know how dangerous it is or how dangerous it can be to use bath salts while drinking alcohol. The interaction of bath salts and alcohol can lead to serious health consequences.
The Side Effects of Using Bath Salts With Alcoholic Drinks
Bath salts, also known as synthetic cathinones, are among the numerous synthetic drugs that have been created to mimic the chemical properties of certain illegal drugs. These so-called designer drugs were originally produced to bypass laws against certain drugs.
By creating chemicals that are structurally similar to the active substances in illegal drugs, manufacturers exploit a loophole in the legal definitions for possessing and distributing drugs. Initially, lawmakers have to scramble to keep up with the creation of these synthetic drugs.
Bath salts mimic the cathinone compounds found in khat, a plant native to African and Arabian regions that has been historically used for its stimulant properties, which act similar to cocaine, ecstasy, or amphetamines. Bath salts can be snorted, smoked, or injected have been sold in drug paraphernalia shops under such names as Vanilla Sky, White Lightning, Cloud Nine, and Crazy Train. Bath salts are popular among people who are subject to drug testing because these drugs are relatively difficult to detect in many standard urine drug screens.1
Bath salts are a relatively new drug and have not been studied extensively, but it does appear that they are addictive and create intense cravings in users. Bath salts have a number of frightening side effects including:1
- Panic attacks.
- Extreme agitation.
Additionally, users of bath salts often suffer nausea, vomiting, headaches, seizures, and rapid heartbeat (tachycardia).1 Death has resulted from the use of bath salts, and the worst outcomes occur through snorting or injecting bath salts.2
Death has resulted from the use of bath salts, and the worst outcomes occur through snorting or injecting bath salts.
People who use drugs such as bath salts often also use alcohol. The use of alcohol in combination with bath salts has not been widely researched or investigated. Bath salts are a stimulant, and research on the use of stimulants and alcohol has shown that using the two together can have negative consequences. Alcohol acts as a sedative, while bath salts and other stimulants create excitement. When a person uses a stimulant while drinking alcohol, the drug masks alcohol’s sedative effect and can lead a person to make poor decisions and engage in risky behavior. Using bath salts and alcohol together increases the risk of serious side effects.3
- Crystal Meth
- Crack Cocaine
Treatment for Addiction to Bath Salts and Alcohol
Research on the addictive nature of bath salts is not extensive, but using bath salts does appear to lead to the development of addiction as well as create strong cravings in users. It also appears that bath salts increase dopamine production in the brain in much the same way as cocaine.1 Currently, addiction to bath salts is treated via cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement, and contingency management.2
When a person is also abusing alcohol, treatment in a detox center is recommended to ensure that sudden withdrawal from alcohol does not result in adverse health consequences. Treatment for addiction to bath salts and alcohol starts with an evaluation by substance abuse professionals to determine whether the person is a candidate for a detox program. If the individual is admitted to detox, a team of doctors, nurses, and counselors oversee the person’s treatment and provide care.
Once detox has been completed, a person recovering from bath salts and alcohol addiction may enter another inpatient program for a period of a few days to a few weeks. Others might attend outpatient treatment for several weeks. Rehabilitation services depend upon an individual’s particular needs. Treatment is important for anyone who’s trying to recover from addiction to bath salts and alcohol, and medical care is a critical aspect of full recovery.
Hotline to Call
Please call our 24-hour hotline if you need information about treatment for addiction to bath salts or alcohol for yourself or for a loved one who’s experiencing the effects of mixing bath salts and alcohol.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2014). Advisory: Spice, Bath Salts, and Behavioral Health.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Drug Facts: Synthetic Cathinones (“Bath Salts”).
- State Government of Victoria. (2012). Know Your Facts: Alcohol and Other Drugs. Better Health Channel.