A recent study has found an unexpected presence of 'bath salts' in ecstasy users.
Researchers at New York University recognized a sudden rise in the number of deaths at music festivals, supposedly due to ecstasy use. They sought to understand what may be causing these deaths, stating that users might be "unintentionally or unknowingly using 'bath salts'". Their findings revealed shocking results.
To conduct the study, researchers would ask a series of questions to patrons outside of nightclubs, asking if they ever knowingly took ecstasy, MDMA or "Molly". Then they would ask if the person ever knowingly took any of the 35 listed "bath salts". Depending on the answers, researches would request to snip a lock of hair so that they could test for the drugs. They collected samples from a quarter of the people who participated in the survey.
48 samples were tested, all of which were from people who had said they knowingly ingested ecstasy. Of the 48 samples, half were positive for MDMA, but the other half came up positive for "bath salts". The most common "bath salts" being butylone and methylone.
Dr. Joseph J. Palamar, affiliate of the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research and assistant professor of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, describes what it was like collecting the samples and how dangerous taking ecstasy can be.
"A lot of people laughed when they gave us their hair saying things like 'I don't use bath salts; I'm not a zombie who eats people's faces.' Yet our findings suggest many of these people have been using "bath salts" without realising it.
"Ecstasy wasn't always such a dangerous drug, but it is becoming increasingly risky because it has become so adulterated with new drugs that users and the scientific community alike know very little about. Users need to be aware that what they are taking may not be MDMA."
It's impossible to know what exactly is inside an ecstasy tablet or a bag of Molly, unless you have a test kit. VICE recently took drug-testing kits into a music festival and tested drugs to see if people would still take it if they knew what it actually was. When you take away the novelty and mystery of substances and replace it with information and disclosure, the user will be less likely to make harmful decisions and more likely to share the knowledge with their peers.
Read the full article on the NYU study, NYU research: Hair sampling shows unintended 'bath salt' use, here.