In recent weeks, the term "bath salts" has exploded around the web as speculation about its involvement in a string of bizarre incidents leads investigators to a crack down on the synthetic drug.
It all started with the "Miami Cannibal", Rudy Eugene, who attacked a homeless man over Memorial Day weekend in a fit of rage and chewed off 75% of his face. Police had to shoot and kill him in order to stop the attack, so finding out what caused it had to be delayed until the toxicology report came back. Until then, rumors flew as everyone tried to figure out what would make a man do what Eugene did.
The report eventually came back positive only for marijuana, but in the weeks between the attack and its release, speculation ran rampant about a drug known as bath salts. Not the scented powder used in bathwater, but a synthetic drug known to cause something of a psychosis in users, who reportedly undergo a feeling of invincibility and show signs of heightened strength. During the interim after Eugene's attack, several cases of bath salt-induced violence were reported around the nation, many of them involving biting or tearing of the flesh. It was for that reason that the public--and officials--became certain that Eugene must have been under the influence of the drug.
The toxicology report isn't stopping many officials from trying to ban the drug, however, and several are cracking down on those in possession of it. Until a federal law is passed, however, it's going to be very difficult to police the drug, because it is currently still legal in several states and is sold in gas stations and head shops under inconspicuous-sounding names like "Cloud 9" and "Vanilla Sky".
New York senator Joseph Griffo says he wants to see tougher legislation regarding the drug, calling it a "scourge on our society".
“What we are seeing in recent days is a dramatic upsurge in incidents in which the violent, bizarre behavior of individuals who have confronted the police is being linked to their use of these drugs,” said Griffo.
Griffo was instrumental in getting a law passed banning the making and selling of bath salts last year; however, the chemists are getting around that law by simply altering the makeup of the drug and taking out key ingredients noted in the legislation.
“They are the Lex Luthors of chemistry and we need to put them out of business,” he said. “...We want to close the loopholes.”