This past Memorial Day weekend, a Miami man was shot and killed after gruesomely maiming another man while hallucinating on a new street drug coined “bath salts.” Also sometimes known as “Ivory Wave”, “Vanilla Sky” and “Bliss” these drugs–which have no direct relation to actual bath salts–contain similar synthetic stimulants as LSD and cocaine and can cause hallucinations, paranoia, violence, and psychosis.
On May 26th, 31-year-old Rudy Eugene attacked 65-year-old Ronald Poppo while under the influence of the drug, tearing and eating away at Poppo’s face. Police described Eugene’s state as “zombie like” and shot him several times before fatally wounding him in the head. It has since been reported that Eugene had overdosed on bath salts.
According to Matt McMillen of WebMD, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration made the possession and sale of three of the chemicals commonly used to make bath salts — mephedrone, MDPV, and methylone–illegal; however, the ban, which was issued in October 2011, is currently under review and the drug can still be found in smoke shops and mini-marts in most states since it is marketed as a “not for human consumption” item.
With this latest incident, the gravity of the dangers caused by this designer drug has prompted the public to become more vigilant about making it illegal. But this isn’t the first time an equally dangerous, and legal, drug of this sort has come under fire. Last March, 21-year-old Ryan Santanna of Roosevelt Island, NY, was reportedly under the influence of salvia when he jumped to his death from his 15th floor balcony. Salvia, a derivative of the mint plant family, is a hallucinogen that can cause the same symptoms as bath salts and is also available in most smoke shops.