Teens more likely to use and abuse bath salts


The popularity of "bath salts", the latest designer drug, has increased in recent years, especially among teens. Poison control centers received over 2,000 calls last year for patients with delusions, hallucinations and paranoia after using the drug. The synthetic drug manufacturers have been smart changing the ingredients to circumvent drug laws, but one ingredient MDPV has been added to the fed's Schedule 1 drug list. This list also includes serious drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy.

Teens and adults experience bath salts differently

Drug researchers think about drugs in terms of reward and aversive effect. The reward inspires drug use and addiction. The aversive effect is a property that might limit drug intake. Studies of rats exposed to addictive drugs have found that adolescent rats typically find drugs less aversive than their adult counterparts. This leads researchers to believe that an increased vulnerability to use and abuse of drugs by teens is possibly indicated.

Body temp and brain monoamine neurotransmitters

Andrew Merluzzi, an undergraduate researcher from American University's Psychopharmacology laboratory in Washington DC uses animal models to study vulnerability to drug use among teens and adults. With the help of Zacharay Hurwitz, graduate student at American University, they examined how adolescent and adult rats differ in their response to the aversive effects of MDPV "bath salts" as well as MDPV's effect on core body temperature and brain monoamine neurotransmitter levels.

Aversive side effects don't hit teens as hard as adults

They found that teens are less sensitive to the aversive effects of MDPV. While adults experience higher body temps following MDPV use, making them physically uncomfortable, adolescents exhibit a decrease in body temperature. Neurotransmitter levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin were lowered in adolescents as well. These responses show that teens are more vulnerable to the addictive effects of "bath salts".

Source: MedicalNewsToday, American University


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