Be forewarned: I am writing about something I know nothing about. (And how’s that unusual, you snark.) But I’ll freely admit, I know nothing about bath salts.

Apparently, they are, shall we say, all the rage.  Literally.

I may have tried bath salts once, but I’m not sure. If I did, it was because someone else in the bath tub suggested it. In which case, of course, she could have suggested we pour dirty motor oil in the tub, and I would have acceded.

But I seem to remember them as unremarkable. If they are supposed to relax one, well, I couldn’t relax, certainly not if someone else was in the tub.

Nonetheless, bath salts are now the latest designer drug, with names, such as “Ivory Wave,” “White Lightning” and “Hurricane Charlie.”

I think this is an AP story. The Washington Post identified it as an AP story, but the Fox News site claims the AP “contributed to this article,” though it seems essentially the same article as in The Post.

The offending drugs are called mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone. Let’s just classify them under the family “Raging Ragu,” but they are labeled “bath salts.”

One man, Neil Brown, of Fulton, Miss., got high off the bath salts and then slashed his face and stomach. He survived, but authorities said other people have not been so lucky.

…In southern Louisiana, the family of a 21-year-old man says he cut his throat and ended his life with a gunshot. Authorities are investigating whether a man charged with capital murder in the December death of a Tippah County, Miss., sheriff’s deputy was under the influence of the bath salts.

Several states have or are considering outlawing it. Mentioned in the article were Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky. No offense to anyone who lives there, but when those states are in the vanguard of anything, it’s time the rest of us pay attention.

But after reading this article, I have some questions never explained by the AP reporter or the Fox News propagandist.

If these are legitimate bath salts, why is it necessary to have something in the salts that is impossible to pronounce, not to mention, you know, deadly? That should be a warning to everyone. Or perhaps a condition of purchase: You have to pronounce methylenedioxypyrovalerone—and spell it. You can even look at the label while you try to spell it. I’d lose my place in such a word.

If these are not chemicals that are in legitimate bath salts, how did the drug dealers let drug users know that this handy method of self-destruction was available in your local convenience store? Did they run promotions with 7-Eleven: “Buy a day old hot dog but forget about it with bath salts.”

And why is it so easy to develop a new drug that can be so destructive and yet the FDA, DEA, and law enforcement are powerless to ban it? The article suggests it could take years for the DEA to outlaw it. (Apparently, the states can just pass a law, an action that understandably is not something we can any faith that the U.S. Congress could do.)

So there you have it: bath salts.

And if you are now a little leery of any type of bath salts, motor oil works just as well—unless you drink it.