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Bath Salts and Other Emerging Toxins

Thornton, Matthew D. MD; Baum, Carl R. MD

doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000000069
CME Review Article

Novel classes of synthetic drugs, including synthetic cathinones (“bath salts”) and synthetic cannabinoids (“spice” or “K2”), have recently emerged as popular drugs of abuse. Salvia divinorum, a naturally occurring herb, has gained popularity in the last decade as a hallucinogenic as well. The legal status of these substances has been undergoing rapid changes and has been confusing to lawmakers and medical practitioners alike. We present an up-to-date information about the legality of these substances. We also discuss the historical background, chemical composition, patterns of abuse, clinical presentations, laboratory analysis, and management strategies for these drugs, with an emphasis on synthetic cathinones.

Physicians (Thornton and Baum), the Department of Pediatrics, Section of Emergency Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

The authors and staff in a position to control the content of this CME activity and their spouses/life partners (if any) have disclosed that they have no financial relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial organizations pertaining to this educational activity.

Reprints: Matthew D. Thornton, MD, 100 York St, Suite 1F, New Haven, CT 06511(e-mail:

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.