The Real Victims of the Zombie Bath Salt Apocalypse

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It’s become a nearly unquestioned assumption in the annals of bizarre, violent crime: the weirder and more inhuman the assault, the more likely the perpetrator is to have been abusing the synthetic drug known as “bath salts”. Chew a guy’s face off? Bath salts! Throw your intestines at police? Bath salts! Bite a random stranger? Bath Salts!

But as it turns out, this hastily slapped-together hypothesis has more than a few holes. For one thing, the case that kicked off the whole zombie cannibal bath salt hysteria — in which 31-year-old Rudy Eugene chowed down on the face of homeless Miami man Ronald Poppo — turned out to be completely unrelated to the drug. Eugene was listed as having only marijuana in his system when he was killed by police after refusing to stop chewing on Poppo’s face.

(MORE: The Cannabis Cannibal? Miami Face-Eater Didn’t Take ‘Bath Salts’)

Second, for goodness sake, ‘bath salts’ is only a nickname. Sold legally in many states, the drug is primarily a variant of methylenedioxypyrovalerone, and has effects similar to those of crystal meth: agitation, hallucinations, high blood pressure. Except for the fact that they look like the soothing, scented crystals that you dissolve in your bathtub, they’re basically the opposite. And at least one bath salt company is politely asking to set the record straight.

“Any extra exposure that our industry can get is generally a good thing,” San Francisco Bath Salt Company president Lee Williamson said in a recent media statement attempting to distance his company from the ongoing bath salt hysteria.

(MORE: Miami Moves to Ban Bath Salts)

After all, recent reports on the dangers of bath salts haven’t exactly been scientific: the rumors were sparked when the Miami Fraternal Order of Police president suggested that the incident was similar to others they had seen involving bath salts (the bad kind). Such “bath salts” are also sold as “glass cleaner” or “plant food” – names that raise no suspicions, thereby allowing retailers to skirt obvious anti-drug laws. Sold in small packets, the stimulant drug can be inhaled or snorted – and is far cheaper than cocaine or ecstasy because it’s cooked in standard kitchens. A common chemical component of these designer drugs is mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant that is very hard to track and even to test for.

So now, Williamson and his company are trying to redraw the line between their product and the drug that’s gripped the nation. The industry has seen slumping demand since 2009, as consumers have cut down on luxury bath items, Headline News reports. But now that they have to contend with the drug abusers who want to rip faces off, it’s game time.

“I’m sure people are afraid of actual bath salts from the headlines and have not pulled the trigger because they are confused by the headlines, which is a shame because they have the opposite healing effects of this deadly drug with an unfortunate name,” Williamson told HLN.

To be clear: actual bath salts won’t turn you into a zombie. Considering how hard their manufacturers sell their soothing, relaxing capabilities, they’re more likely to turn you into a mummy.  And with President Obama expected to sign a federal ban on 28 new “bath salts” varieties, we can feel comfortable buying actual bath salts again. Light the lavender candle and cue the Sade, legitimate bath salt industry. We have a feeling a long soak will do you well.

MORE‘Bath Salts’: Evil Lurking at Your Corner Store

17 comments
Loribgori
Loribgori

Just bc the drug was not evident in his system at time of testing, doesn't mean the damage to his brain hadn't been done already.  And, if these drugs are or were out there, it shouldn't be too hard to find the "company" who distributed them.  Why are they not doing that?

TonyTheTiger
TonyTheTiger

I give this advice as someone who was given a hefty dose of bath salts unknowingly by my ex wife,who was experimenting herself....This could be the most enjoyable drug you ever did or you might end up in a hell of a mess....Good quality bath salts are very potent but I reject the notion it would cause someone to become violent for no reason....Doing  one quarter gram (250 mg) will result in no sleep for at least 24 hrs or more,increased enjoyment of music,a no inhibition feeling as if your a kid again at times,unending energy,focusing on unimportant things that seem funny for hours,uncontrollable laughter,and the desire to keep on doing more....You can lose track of time altogether and if you have more,you may realize you've not slept in four days...Sooner or later ,you crash and sleep for 2 days and won't care if it's day or night...I'll end with this...They were cheap (35 bucks a gram) and it's much much stronger than cocaine or amphetamine....Imagine how long a quarter gram of coke lasts(maybe a hour or so),and coke is 80 to 100 a gram...You can stay super high for 4 days on a 35 dollar gram of good quality bath salts....Anyone who thinks MDPV isn't about the best designer drug ever has not done any quality salts...What it does to your mind is incredible...You will go where no man has gone before..like in star trek..lol..be careful!!!

Terri13
Terri13 like.author.displayName 1 Like

You have ALL lost your minds...It's simple--- If you really believe that "zombies" are here then leave all of your valuables right outside your door... I will GLADLY pick 'em up...and leave you a number to call... OH, THAT'S RIGHT!!!   NO PHONES!!!!!! Ah,well.....

Kat Daniels
Kat Daniels

fuck what u people say...Its zombies. How many bullets did it take to bring the MIAMI ZOMBIE down? What did he do when the police told him to stop? HE GROWLED and continued eating that guys face. And all of these other "Bath Salts" cases not just in miami, but in other places too. Dont any of you people watch zombie movies? lol. Pure ignorance!

Philip Gorman
Philip Gorman

Tuberculosis Reactive Psychoses. 

May 16th: 15 students, 2 adults with red rash require hazmat team.

May 23rd: Lauderdale Lakes Middle School, 4 students and a teacher, red rash. 

May 25th: Hazmat personnel to Lake County School for 26 students and children. 

May 25th: The "Miami Zombie" incident. 

Some say the governor in Florida hid this information from  state lawmakers and the public in a cover-up while others defend the decision by saying the largest TB outbreak in 20 years isn't a big deal. Seriously, don't concern your pretty little head.

CDC is hit with multiple large outbreaks. What are the chances that at least one person suffered the reactive psychosis from a completely unchecked epidemic? 

Toxicology report shows no "bath salts" in his system. The cost of funding TB hospitals and other social programs is too expensive for one of the richest nations on Earth. Best part? Use the failure of government to write more criminal code! Beautiful by design or are they simply idiotic?

Jeff Crooks
Jeff Crooks

I will tell you what you all need to do is get in tune with what the hell these bath salts are, seriously people who take bath salts are going coo coo for coco puffs. I couldnt believe they said they only concluded canabis in the Miami guys attack. Seriously check out these videos on this article about these dang bath salts http://www.americanlivewire.co...

WeeItsNookies
WeeItsNookies

Ahh bathsalts, the newest bandwagon mindless Americans have hopped on. New one is coming in 2 weeks, wonder what it'll be. 

Kimsbenn
Kimsbenn

The original coroner's toxicology report stated the did not find any chemical components that make up "bath salts". He stated that could mean the chemicals had already become non traceable or was a new combination they did not know to look for. The only identifiable drug was THC. No official report stated "bath salts" could not be the culprit but only they could not prove it from the toxicology study.

And I'm sure there are plenty of people who do not know that actual luxury bath products are not what all the zombie frenzy is about. That's why products have rediculous labels instructing us how to use the product safely. Reporters assume the viewer knows "bath salts" is an alias because it is briefly described at some point but that's after one is fixated on the horrific crime.

Paula Dixon
Paula Dixon

This is not a well written or researched article. Get it together.

Beth
Beth

So, hold on. They're saying the guy who ate the face had only marijuana in his system (which, um, would not likely be the cause of his behavior, but whatever, separate conversation). BUT, you also say here that "A common chemical component of these designer drugs is mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant that is very hard to track and even to test for." So, it seems to me this drug could still be the culprit, yes? Also, I saw a news report about these on Dateline or something similar YEARS ago. The use of the drug is hardly new, but it's clearly becoming a problem and should be taken more seriously. I do agree that we shouldn't feel the need to avoid anything that's called "bath salts", obviously there are real, harmless bath salts out there. The key is public education about the drug, and banning the drug as best we can. 

Paul Michael Lizzi
Paul Michael Lizzi

just because you test + for THC, does not mean you are actually high at the time...for all they know the miami face eater got stoned 3 weeks before the attack...

xhearingxcolorsx
xhearingxcolorsx

Who actually thinks regular bath salts get you high or make you go crazy? If anyone actually is scared of bath salts... -.-"

Shegz Afolayan
Shegz Afolayan

I love the way TIME is reporting this as if they weren't one of the first news agencies to break the 'Bath Salt Zombie' stories. Hypocrites.

Kobalt8
Kobalt8

I'll bet it was a bath salt, just not the good ol' MDPV, methedrone, or mephedrone.  Probably the newer alpha-PVP, but they didn't test for that...