‘Zombie’ attacker may have been high on bath salts

Rudy Eugene

Rudy Eugene

MIAMI — Officials said a naked “zombie-like” man who attacked another man and bite off parts of his face Saturday in Miami may have been under the influence of “bath salts.”

The attack was halted only when police shot and killed the attacker, identified as 31-year old Rudy Eugene.

These aren’t the same bath salts to make your tub water smell nice. “Bath salts” is just a fake name, but users know it’s not really for the bath.

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse described bath salts as an “emerging and dangerous product” in February 2011.

She urged parents, teachers and the public to be aware of the potential dangers of these drugs. Officials said they had already been linked to numerous visits to the E.R. and calls to poison control centers in the U.S.

In October 2011, these “bath salts” and its related products were put on schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, which means that the drug has no legitimate use or safety in the U.S. and is highly addictive.

Bath salts contain amphetamine-like chemicals such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, and pyrovalerone. They’re referred to as a “designer drug of the phenethylamine class” by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Other drugs in this class include amphetamines, mescaline, and ephedrine. MDPV comes in a powdered form that is inhaled, swallowed or shot into a vein. Bath Salts are sold as “cocaine substitutes” or “synthetic LSD.”

When MDPV gets to the brain, the effects include producing feelings of empathy, stimulation, alertness, euphoria, sensory awareness and hallucinations. Other reported effects include rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, and sweating.

According to the DEA, MDPV has been reported to cause intense panic attacks, psychosis, and a strong desire to use the drug again.

“Addictive substances, whether they are bath salts, alcohol or other drugs, can have horrific and costly consequences. Sometimes these consequences can result from only one use; other times they are a result of the complex brain disease of addiction,” said Susan E. Foster, vice president and director of policy research and analysis at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

“Together, risky use of addictive substances and addiction constitute our nation’s largest and most costly health problem. In the interest of health and public safety, Americans must begin to understand that substance use is a preventable public health problem and addiction is a treatable disease,” she added.

Reports began surfacing in 2009 about teens and young adults abusing synthetic stimulant products sold as Bath Salts, “plant fertilizer,” energy-1, Ivory Wave, Red Dove, Purple Wave, Blue Silk, Zoom, Bloom, Cloud Nine, Ocean Snow, Lunar Wave, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning, Scarface, and Hurricane Charlie.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s forensic monitoring system found two reports of MDPV in 2009. In 2010 that figure jumped to 338 cases. Between January through September 2011, the numbers skyrocketed to 911 MDPV cases, spanning 34 states.

Credit: CNN.