Miami Moves to Ban Bath Salts

Miami-Dade County has moved to ban the designer drug linked to the “zombie apocalypse.”

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The Miami Herald / AP

Miami police stand watch near Rudy Eugene, second from right, who was fatally shot by an officer when he refused to stop chewing the face of the man next to him on May 26, 2012

Commissioners of Miami-Dade County have given preliminary approval to outlaw the sale of “bath salts,” the synthetic drug that is believed to be linked to a spate of violent, cannibalistic “zombie attacks” in the past month.

Bath salts are synthetic compounds of stimulants methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, and pyrovalerone which manufacturers market as a legal replacement for cocaine or the hallucinogen LSD, according to CNN. They are known by names like “Lovey Dovey,” “Euphoria,” “White Lightning,” “Purple Wave” and “Ivory Snow,” and can be digested, smoked, or inhaled.

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Bath salts, which known to make some users aggressive, have been implicated in countless similar “face-chewing” attacks in the past month. The ban is up for final approval on July 3, CBS Miami reports, leaving 12 days for more cannibalistic attacks to occur.

The string of similar crimes dubbed “zombie attacks” began in an incident in which Miami resident Rudy Eugene brutally assaulted a homeless man named Ronald Poppo on the MacArthur Causeway and chewed off half of his face. Eugene, who was shot and killed by police after he refused orders to cease and desist, is believed to have been under the influence of bath salts at the time of the attack, although toxicology reports have not been released to confirm this.

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Eugene’s rampage was the first in a spate of similar “zombie attacks,” which observers have speculated were prompted by the attackers’ use of bath salts. While the attacks have been centered in Miami, they have been reported elsewhere in cities around the country.

The law would ban the sale or advertisement of a list of particular compounds or anything structurally similar to them, making violations punishable by $500 fines and 60-day jail terms. Previous attempts to ban bath salts have been ineffective, as manufacturers have circumvented the laws by slightly altering the drugs’ chemical formula. Manufacturers often label the packages “not for human consumption.”

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