Tags: zombie | cannibal | bath | salts | miami | attack

Cannibal ‘Zombie’ Attack Tied to ‘Bath Salts’

Wednesday, 30 May 2012 12:07 PM

Sensational news reports of a naked Miami man who chewed the face of a homeless man in what has been described as a “zombie-like” attack have thrown a spotlight on the dangers of “bath salts” – new and powerful mind-altering street drugs that police suspect may have fueled the assailant’s wild violence.
The attacker, identified as 31-year-old Rudy Eugene, was shot and killed by police after the incident on Saturday. Hours later, Armando Aguilar, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, said he was under the influence of bath salts.
Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, called bath salts an "emerging and dangerous product," in an online statement posted on the National Institutes of Health’s website.
She urged parents, teachers and the public to be aware of the potential dangers of these drugs, which have been linked to numerous visits to hospital emergency rooms and calls to poison control centers in the U.S.
Last October, federal officials added them to the list of illicit drugs on the Controlled Substances Act, which means they have no legitimate use, are unsafe and highly addictive.
“Bath salts, the newest fad to hit the shelves [virtual and real], is the latest addition to a growing list of items that young people can obtain to get high,” Volkov said in her statement, which was posted before the Miami attack. “Because these products are relatively new to the drug abuse scene, our knowledge about their precise chemical composition and short- and long-term effects is limited, yet the information we do have is worrisome and warrants a proactive stance to understand and minimize any potential dangers to the health of the public.”
Despite the nickname, bath salts are not the same substances widely used in baths. They are designer drugs sold as synthetic powder online and in drug paraphernalia stores and even some mini-marts under a variety of names, including "Ivory Wave," "Purple Wave," "Red Dove," "Blue Silk," "Zoom," "Bloom," "Cloud Nine," "Ocean Snow," "Lunar Wave," "Vanilla Sky," "White Lightning," "Scarface," and "Hurricane Charlie."
They often contain amphetamine-like chemicals, such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPDV), mephedrone and pyrovalerone. Users take them orally or by inhaling or injecting them. The chemicals act like stimulant drugs in the brain, and are sometimes touted as cocaine or LSD substitutes. They can trigger intense cravings similar to those experienced by methamphetamine users.
“They can also confer a high risk for other medical adverse effects,” Volkov said. “Some of these may be linked to the fact that, beyond their known psychoactive ingredients, the contents of bath salts are largely unknown, which makes the practice of abusing them, by any route, that much more dangerous.”
The drugs have been linked to a growing number of ER visits and calls to poison centers, with users complaining of hallucinations, extreme paranoia, delusions, agitation, chest pains, increased blood pressure and racing heart rates.
Several states -- including Hawaii, Michigan, Louisiana, Kentucky, and North Dakota -- have introduced legislation to ban bath salts. In addition, several counties, cities, and local municipalities have also taken action to ban these products.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and promote research on the extent, pharmacology, and consequences of bath salts abuse,” Volkov said. “In the meantime, I would like to urge parents, teachers, and the public at large to be aware of the potential dangers associated with the use of these drugs and to exercise a judicious level of vigilance that will help us deal with this problem most effectively.”

© HealthDay

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The case of a Miami man who chewed the face of a homeless man spotlights dangers of new street drugs.
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 12:07 PM
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