Bath salts are not for just bathing anymore

by Angela Brooks

Standing in front of a 19 year young male who had a confused look on his face brought sadness to my heart as I watched him and then ask, “Can I help you find something?” He stood there looking around and he threw open both of his arms and said, “I am lost inside my own self – I don’t know who or where I am, I am looking for me.” As many years as I have worked in mental health I was speechless.  He didn’t even notice that I did not reply.

As a first time client, this young man had his life in front of him went to a party with some buddies and ended up in a mental hospital with no clue who was. Even though he was talking to me – his facial expressions were flat. His eyes were empty and inside his healthy young body he was lost.

The definition of Synthetic drugs also known as “club drugs” are those substances that are produced entirely from chemical reactions in a laboratory. Their chemical structure can be identical to naturally occurring drugs, such as cocaine and opium, but they are often designed to enhance effects from naturally occurring drugs, or to prevent side effects that are unwanted. Many purely synthetic compounds with no alternative natural source are classified by the chemical structure of the parent synthetic compound. Drugs that share a common core structure belong to a particular group. But members within a particular group may produce different effects. Pharmacological activity within a group may vary widely.


The news is full of drugs, alcohol and addiction. People are looking for something to fill their life and searching in the wrong places for happiness and contentment. The high they find in a substance can never be replaced. They will search for the rest of their life for the high they had with the first hit, first snort, first smoke…it is gone.

We are a billion dollar drug industry that expects to be given a pill when they go to the doctor. It is rare any more to walk out the doctor’s door with only one prescription. We have to ask, is it the Dr’s fault for handing them out, or has the nation broken our doctors down to the point they give in and give the prescription that leads to addiction. It is never the doctor’s fault, he provides a service that helps our communities and the choice to become part of the drug consuming world is up the person.

We heard a loud wobble sound come over the loud speakers “Code D Unit 123 – Code D Unit 123” as certified crisis prevention (CPI) instructor I took off running to the area where a disturbed patient has lost control and the staff need more help. Normally I run in that direction but can drop down to a quick walk once I get half way to the event due to the code being canceled when enough staff arrive. Today – that was not the case. When I reached the half point once again across the loud speakers came the call “CODE D UNIT 123 – CODE D UNIT 123” my heart quicken and so did my feet. When staff began pouring out of the stairwells and off elevators running at full speed to the next hallway – we all knew that it was more than someone being a little upset.

As we all turned the corner our eyes wide assessing the situation we see a group of people surrounding a young man lying on the floor screaming in a voice that raised the hair on both arms.  I often will pray as I run, for protection of our staff and for the person who has lost control to not get hurt. Today I stood listening to the words that poured out of his mouth with such evil force I stated out loud “Lord decrease his strength and protect our staff”. The patient assist standing beside me cut me a side look and grinned.

As I peered through the mass of people I could see the man’s arms and legs; a young man sweating like someone had turned a pitcher of water over his head. Speaking in a voice, that was not actually normal for him. “I am the evil force you have no control over me. You can’t hold me I am way to strong for you. I cause pain and suffering, I will cause destruction and kill many people. You cannot hold me I  have the strength of 10 men. As he began pushing against the 10 that were holding him they were struggling to keep him in a controlled position. His laugh pierced my ears and the staff who were observing gave each other a glance.

For his personal safety and integrity – the staff began to try moving him off the hallway and into a private room where the other patients could not see him. His strength doubled when they brought him to his feet, kicking, screaming, and reached out a punched one of the men in the face – drop kicking another one before they tumbled to the ground in a heap inside the private room. He was not calming down and he was not going to give up the fight.

He continued to speak to the staff in a deep dark tone of voice. The staff begins to get concerned at the length of time he was exerting such strength and sweating to the point of dehydrating. The body can only stay at peek adrenaline rush for so long before it will start to come down and hopefully not in a crashing motion. After 20 long minutes – he was placed in leather restraints to protect him from himself and others until he could gain control again.

The drug…whether it was a “designer drug” or a “club drug” they leave the victim in the same confused,   Irritability, Severe anxiety, Extreme emotional sensitivity, Irrational thinking, Depression,  Amnesia,  Violent behavior, Insomnia, Hallucinations  self. They are never guaranteed that someone will go back to the person they once were – a few have, however the majority have lasting life results that effect their dreams and goals.

This young man was in college on a path he was pursuing that ended at a party with new friends. I don’t need to preach to the choir – we all ask the same question WHY – do you want to try something that will damage you for life with the possibility of death with the first try.

Our nation is hurting, lonely and depressed reaching for a life they do not know how to get, when it is simply in a decision to take a different path. Over medicating should not be the option to take, however it is and most will choose the pill over dealing with themself.


Angela Brooks is a retired nurse after 25 years in mental health. She used her lunch breaks to build her business part time on the night shift. Her car became a mobile university as she listened to business training, coaching calls on CD and phone webinars. She blogged while she was at her sons' baseball practices.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shelly September 30, 2012 at 12:40 pm

It is very sad that we as a society have become so dependent on drugs. I’m always amazed when people tell me the number of medications they are on.

2 Lauren Mazzio September 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm

HI Angela, we will be praying for you and your ministry as a nurse. May God continue to bless you with wisdom and protection as you bloom where He has planted you.

3 Jami October 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Hi Angela – I agree our nation is in an epidemic crisis with prescription drugs. I have worked with many young women in drug treatment facilities and girls who have been victimized by human sex trafficking and the toll drugs have taken on their lives. This is very well written and I’d love to share it on my page. Keep up the good work!

4 Angela Brooks October 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Jami please share – just leave all the links and Bio in take – it is sad watching how it effects people

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