ALARMING NEW DRUG CRAZE DEMANDS BETTER EDUCATION
July 25, 2012, Tampa, Florida - The story of the “Miami cannibal” Rudy Eugene–the 31-year old Miami man who devoured most of a homeless man’s face last Memorial Day weekend–garnered much attention in the press, including the charge that he had been consuming “bath salts” – the recent designer drug popular on the street and legally sold in Florida under various names.
The head of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, Armando Aguilar, said drugs are at the root of the well publicized Miami attack, and other similar events. “We have seen, already, three or four cases that are exactly like this,” where persons admitted to taking designer drugs. “It’s no different than cocaine psychosis,” Aguilar said. He also described the effects as similar to LSD. In the cases he described, the people have all taken their clothing off, been extremely violent with what seemed to be super-human strength, even using their jaws as weapons. “Extremely strong, I took care of a 150 pound individual who you would have thought he was 250 pounds,” Aguilar said. “It took six security officers to restrain the individual.”
Then last month it was breathless announced throughout the media world that laboratory tests show the “Miami cannibal” was not on bath salts after all, and autopsy tests only turned up small traces of marijuana.
What the media did not broadly report, however, is that these new designer drugs are virtually impossible to detect in a normal autopsy toxicology test without very sophisticated equipment – none of which was reported to have been used in that case.
But numerous other cases have been reported in recent time of individuals who admitted to having consumed the increasingly popular new designer drug:
An Atlanta man was arrested after stripping down to his underwear at a local driving range and threatening to eat people
A homeless man in Miami walked into a restaurant and began yelling obscenities at two police officers who were eating. When he couldn’t be calmed down they took him into custody. He slammed his head against the plexiglass divider of their cruiser and shouted: “I’m going to eat you” to the officers before growling and baring his teeth. Later he allegedly banged his head against the bars of the cell, growled, and tried to bite one officer’s hand off. He had to be fitted with a Hannibal Lecter-style mask to prevent him from carrying his threats out.
In another case a 43 year old man was accused of attacking his neighbor in Scott, Louisiana, after being upset over a domestic issue. He attacked and bit a chunk of his victims face off.
A man in Indiana climbed a road side flag pole and jumped into traffic.
A Pennsylvania man described hallucinations that he said made him grab a knife and repeatedly slashed his face and stomach.
Another man in Pennsylvania broke into a monastery and stabbed a priest.
A woman in West Virginia who scratched herself “to pieces” over several days because she thought there was something under her skin.
In Hackensack, NJ a man stabbed himself over 50 times in the abdomen while simultaneously throwing pieces of his exposed flesh and intestines at police.
A California man was discovered naked, covered in blood, and surrounded by scattered body parts. He had ingested a drugged tea and then found himself ripping out the heart, tongue, and face of his cage-fighting partner whom appeared as a possessed demon.
That same day Baltimore man called police to report finding a human head and hands in his basement sink. The man’s brother admitted to police he had killed his roommate with a knife, eating pieces of his brain and entire heart in the process.
What is the truth and what is this new craze about a drug which can legally be purchased in Florida under various names?
“Bath salts” is also known under various names as White Rush, Cloud Nine, Ivory Wave, Ocean Snow, Charge Plus, White Lightning, Scarface, Hurricane Charlie, Red Dove, Blue Silk, Zoom, Bloom, Vanilla Sky, MDPK, MTV, Magic, Maddie, Black Rob, Super Coke, PV, Peeve and Sextasy. It is a synthetically produced designer drug, made by underground chemists who could include virtually any chemical into their mixture. However, many are based on a chemical called mephedrone, which is similar to a chemical found naturally in the plant Catha edulis.
Catha edulis is a flowering plant, originally found in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula which has been chewed for thousands of years for its stimulant and euphoric effects. It is also said to be addictive and has been labeled a drug of abuse by the United Nations.
The synthetic form was originally introduced in the UK and Europe and by 2010 was being sold across the U.S. in gas stations, convenience stores and “head shops.” It can be snorted, sniffed or injected.
Another chemical used in these concoctions is MDPV, or methylenedioxypyrovalerone. MDPV is a psychoactive drug with similar effects as mephedrone, first sold as an abusive designer drug in 2004.
The effects of all these drugs is severe – much more so than the plant form Catha edulis.
They can cause deep psychosis, hallucinations, suicidality and violent rage where a person feels all powerful. Most experience a sharp increase in body temperature, making them feel as though they are burning up inside, thus the urge to remove clothing.
The effects have been described as similar to Ecstasy or LSD, with a heightened sense of energy similar to cocaine or amphetamines. Other effects that have been described include increased heart rate, high blood pressure, chest pain, seizures, paranoia, dizziness, vomiting, profuse sweating, just to name a few.
The drug is spreading at an alarming rate. The number of calls to poison centers concerning "bath salts" rose to 6,138 in 2011 from 304 in 2010, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
In October 2011 the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made illegal the possession and sale of three of the chemicals commonly used to make bath salts – mephedrone, MDPV, and methylone. The ban, issued in October 2011, is effective for at least a year. The agency announced that it will decide whether a permanent ban is warranted.
While the State of Florida has banned “bath salts”, the law is skirted by changing a small chemical component of the substance and labeling it “not for human consumption.”
The Foundation for A Drug Free World is an education program for youth as well as adults on the harmful effects of illicit drugs. In regards to the new designer drug craze the Foundation points to its informational booklet on LSD and Ecstacy, also synthetic drugs with similar effects.
Here is an excerpt of the instructional booklet on LSD which is distributated by the Foundation:
“The effects of LSD are unpredictable. They depend on the amount taken, the person’s mood and personality, and the surroundings in which the drug is used. It is a roll of the dice—a racing, distorted high or a severe, paranoid low.”
“Taken in a large enough dose, LSD produces delusions and visual hallucinations. The user’s sense of time and self changes. Sizes and shapes of objects become distorted, as do movements, colors and sounds; even one’s sense of touch and the normal bodily sensations turn into something strange and bizarre. Sensations may seem to ‘cross over,’ giving the user the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. These changes can be frightening and can cause panic.”
The Foundation for a Drug Free World is a non-profit organization actively involved in education programs in schools and in the community. The program is mainly addressed to youth. For information about drugs, the program, or to schedule a lecturer go to http://www.drugfreeworld.org
. Knowledge is powerful.
And for the person with a drug problem, there are real solutions to addiction. Narconon, a drug rehabilitation program that utilizes the methods of L. Ron Hubbard, has a success rate of more than 75% (http://www.narconon.org
The best solution, however, is not to begin using drugs in the first place.