Tag Archives: designer drugs

Bath salt zombies scare cadets straight in Navy-produced video

The Navy has a new weapon in its arsenal against designer drug abuse: the mini-movie Bath Salts: It’s Not a Fad, It’s a Nightmare.

Available to the public on YouTube (and at the bottom of this page), the 6:37 minute movie uses horror-movie style special effects to simulate the hallucinogenic and often violent effects of the drug.

Shot from a young sailor’s point of view, the first 2 minutes of the video put the viewer behind the eyes of a cadet as he smacks his girlfriend in a bowling alley, witnesses his roommate morph into a horrific demon, and ultimately ends up convulsing on a hospital bed as he is held down by camouflage-wearing doctors.

According to Lieutenant George Loeffler, Chief Psychiatry Resident at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, treatment centers within the armed forces are seeing more cases of bath salt abuse every month. In early 2012, the Navy announced an “alarming increase” in designer drug use, which led to 1515 sailors being discharged in 2011 alone according to the Navy-run Jet Observer.

Mr. Loeffler explained that paranoid delusions and psychotic episodes that last long after the drug is out of their systems. “When people are using bath salts, they’re not their normal selves. They’re angrier, they’re erratic, they’re violent, they’re unpredictable.”

“People will start acting really weird, seeing things that aren’t there, believing things that aren’t true,” Loeffler continued. “Some people describe people spying on them, trying to kill them and their families, other people talk about seeing demons, and things that are trying to kill them.”

The designer drug has the potential to cause permanent damage. “One of the most concerning things about bath salts is that these hallucinations, these paranoid delusions, will last long after the intoxication’s gone,” Loeffler says.

Similar to the designer drug spice—the synthetic version of marijuana until recently sold over the counter in tobacco shops—bath salts contain unknown ingredients which vary widely depending on the source. This makes experimenting with the drug essentially a game of Russian roulette, often with devastating effects.

Reports of a 31-year-old man named Rudy Eugene attacking a 65-year old homeless man in Miami, stripping off the victim’s clothes, and proceeding to eat his face recently brought national attention to the potential dangers involved with bath salts.

It later turned out that Mr. Eugene was not in fact using the synthetic drug, though the psychotic episodes and paranoid delusions experienced by the assailant are consistent with known side effects.

The military treats soldiers who test positive for drug use with a strict “zero tolerance”, and are increasingly able to detect many designer drugs. Many of the most dangerous chemicals, however, do not register on drug tests, according to Mr. Loeffler. This fact has been used specifically to market the drug to sailors, soldiers, and marines.

Are the Navy’s methods to discourage bath salt use excessively dramatic in their recent video, or appropriate to counter an increasingly threatening epidemic of designer drug abuse?

Decide for yourself after watching the video:

‘Zombie’ Rudy Eugene and Ronald Poppo met before Miami ‘Causeway Cannibal’ attack, friend says

MIAMI, Fla. — It has been months since a face-chewing attack in Miami that left a homeless man hospitalized with portions of his face missing, but many questions still remain.

Rudy Eugene, who was shot and killed by police, is accused of brutally attacking Ronald Poppo during Memorial Day Weekend. But according to new reports, this wasn’t the first time the two met.

According to the Miami Herald, Eugene’s friend Christian says the two had met Poppo before while volunteering with Miami’s homeless community.

“[Ronald Poppo] seemed like a nice and kind man,” Christian exclusively told the Herald. “I remember when we gave him food.’’

Eugene was not on “bath salts” or synthetic marijuana when he chewed the face off Poppo, according to toxicology reports.

But many scientists and skeptical observers don’t believe the reports.

Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti is just one of the doubting Thomases who think the so-called “Causeway Cannibal” was on something not caught by either of the two labs that ran the toxicology tests.

“We are not testing for everything that may be out there,” said Dr. Barry Logan, one of the nation’s leading toxicologists.

That’s because they can’t.

Clandestine labs are using more than 100 chemical compounds to make synthetic marijuana, but even the most sophisticated lab can only test for 17, said Logan, director of Forensic and Toxicological Services at NMS Labs in Pennsylvania, the same lab hired by Miami-Dade County to help test Eugene for bath salts and synthetic marijuana.

Bath salts, also known as synthetic amphetamines, are also hard to track for the same reason.

There are hundreds of bath salt compounds out there, but toxicologists can only test for 40, Logan said.

“This is always a moving target,” Logan said. “As soon as a test exists for something, there are new compounds waiting in the wings. We are always a step behind.”

Even Logan was surprised when Eugene’s drug scan found only traces of marijuana.

“His behavior was consistent with someone who was delusional and hallucinating, which would be consistent with bath salts,” Logan said.

The report released last week by the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner contained this disclaimer: “Within the limits of current technology by both laboratories, marijuana is the only drug identified in the body of Mr. Rudy Eugene.”

Experts say there is no question Eugene’s behavior was drug-induced – and not by marijuana. But it’s hard to prove because even the most sophisticated labs cannot test for every compound.

“We are not incompetent,” said Dr. Bruce Goldberger, professor and director of toxicology at the University of Florida. “We have the tools, we have the sophistication and know-how. But the field is evolving so rapidly it is hard for us to keep track. It’s almost as if it is a race we can never win.”

Goldberger thinks Eugene was on a drug far stronger than marijuana the day of the attack.

“To say marijuana could have induced this behavior is simply outrageous,” Goldberger said. “No matter how sick mentally or physically a person is, they don’t go around eating people’s faces, or barking at police, or eating a dog, like what happened recently in Texas.”

A Waco man who tried to eat a dog on June 14 told police he was high on synthetic marijuana at the time.

Users say they are drawn to fake weed because it gets them high and doesn’t show up in most drug tests.

One chronic pot user said she’d been smoking synthetic marijuana for two years, then was rushed to the emergency room when she tried to stop cold turkey.

The hospital tests found only traces of marijuana – just like with Rudy Eugene.

Ann Howard, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections, said probation officers have the option of testing for designer drugs.

But the tests are expensive – anywhere from $200 to $300 for synthetic marijuana and up to $500 for bath salts, Goldberger said.

Probation officers may not test everyone, but they will target high-risk candidates, said Jim Hall, director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Substance Abuse at Nova Southeastern University in Davie.

It’s for their own good, he said.

“These are the guinea pig drugs of 2012,” Hall said. “The people using these drugs are risking their lives, their minds and their kidneys. Some of these people have had to be put on dialysis for the rest of their lives.”

Oakland Park resident Jimmy Hewett says his probation officer had him tested for synthetic marijuana after he was quoted in the Sun Sentinel saying he smoked the stuff.

A judge issued a warrant for his arrest after he admitted using the designer drug.

Because it is openly sold at gas stations and convenience stores, Hewett says he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong.

But on July 17, he will have to answer to the court. The charge: Violating probation.


Zombie Apocalypse and the ‘bath salts’ link: 34 states already impacted per DEA

Zombie Apocalypse hasn't reached Sydney's shores as of today, except in the form of those who pretend to be driven by demons rather than drugs.The zombie apocalypse that America and Canada is said to be experiencing this week due to ‘bath salts’ didn’t happen overnight, as some might think.

In fact, news released on Friday show that this law enforcement problem has been occurring around the country long before the Causeway cannibal face-eating attack in Miami, or the other cannibalistic acts in California, Canada or Maryland. In fact, law enforcement and medical personnel in as many as 34 states have been battling this growing ‘zombie apocalypse’ drug problem for quite some time.

The United States Drug Enforcement Agency really started to sit up and take notice of synthetic designer drugs in 2009, when so-called “fake pot” began making the rounds under the names K-2 and Spice, among others. Two reports about one of the key drugs in that product caught the DEA’s attention that year.

And thanks to poison control centers and hospitals joining law enforcement in making reports to the DEA, about the increases they began to see in those using the so-called “fake pot” products, a better picture began to emerge of the dangers currently being seen now, allegedly.

Reports of anxiety attacks, convulsions, elevated heart rates, increased blood pressure, as well as disorientation were being experienced in growing numbers. And fortunately 16 states listened up and took the necessary action to control those so-called fake pot drugs. But that was just the beginning, with recreational drugs known as ‘bath salts’ soon following.

By 2010 a key drug in both products had brought as many as 338 cases to their attention. Those numbers jumped in less than a year in 2011, when 911 cases were noted, and the problem had grown to impact as many as 34 states.

Almost one year ago this month, the New York Division of the DEA, under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge John Gilbride, finally took down a major ‘bath salts’ distributor, hoping to curb the recreational drug availability that is used at raves and as a recreational drug.

The dangerous substance is purchased at retail shops, gas stations and other businesses due to being labeled deceptively as bath salts, which are given many different names, including “Aura,” “Goodfellas,” “Ivory Wave,” “Russian River” and “Xtreme,” though there are many more names used as well.

The drug is typically snorted as powder or taken as a pill, according to the DEA. It is also injected intravenously and smoked by users who experience symptoms that range from panic attacks and increased heart rates to delusions and psychotic episodes. And if the toxicology screen in Miami comes back to reveal bath salts in the MacArthur “Causeway cannibal” attack, the adverse effects experienced will grow to include face-eating among other things.

By September of 2011, the DEA had heard enough negative reports on the adverse symptoms being experienced by those using the fake bath salts products labeled “Not for human consumption” that they immediately exercised their authority to control the three drugs most concerning: Mephedrone, MDPV and Methylone.

And they were not alone, as 33 states had now grown concerned enough to either ban or control the products containing these substances, which are usually labeled as “bath salts” or “plant food.” Five short months later, in February of this year, the DEA extended their control of this dangerous group of chemicals by six months, which by the way, is also in the so-called “fake Pot” products.

Miami’s face-eating attacker Rudy Eugene was said to be hooked on marijuana by one of his friends. It is unclear if he was possibly using the so-called “fake pot” that contains this dangerous drug under the watchful eye of the DEA or if it was a ‘bath salts’ product instead that may have resulted in the horrific zombie like attack on Ronald Poppo.