For the past year, the use of bath salt has increased and experts say that bath salts are becoming more powerful, causing zombie like effects, in users, making them violent and unpredictable, according to WBAL-TV's onsite video. In association with bath salt use, there was a vicious attack, which some people label "Zombie Attacks", "Zombie Apocalypse", and "Cannibal Attacks". Police attribute various behaviours, including the recent attack, to the use of Bath Salts, which head shops sell as synthetic marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and heroin.
Bath salts, referred to on the street as 'the new LSD' and sold as a cocaine substitute, contain amphetamine-like chemicals such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone.
Rudy Eugene, age 31 and from Miami, was allegedly high on bath salts when he attacked a 65-year-old homeless man, called Ronald Poppo, who was apparently high also, and started eating the 65 year old's face. Police shot Eugene in order to stop the attack, but it took four bullets to kill Eugene in order to stop him and no one knows what started the fight.
"This is new to us. I remember years ago when I worked narcotics when crack first came out seeing people with rocks and not knowing what it was," says Aguilar. "We are facing the same problem. Aguilar said the cop who confronted and shot Eugene was traumatized by the incident.
A witness was also shaken by what he said.
"When I looked forward, there's a guy on top of another person, eating him and tearing him apart," said Larry Vega to WPLG who witnessed the attack while on a leisure bike ride. Vega says he went to a Miami police officer and told the officer what was going on and that there was blood everywhere.
"I never thought I would see someone eating someone else. It was really, really horrific. He was tearing it up and just throwing it away," Vega said.
Authorities say that Poppo is recovering, but his face is unrecognizable. Poppo gave doctors permission to discuss his case.
Ronald Poppo, the 65-year-old Miami homeless man whose face was eaten during a vicious attack two weeks ago is "doing well, eating, walking around, and remembers the attack," doctors said today as they updated the public for the first time on the victim's condition.
"When Poppo arrived you could not make out facial features," said Dr. Nicolas Namias, chief of trauma at Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital. "Our primary goal was to close his wounds… [and] allow him to recover before undergoing more surgeries."
According to doctors, his left eye is destroyed, but they think his right eye might still be there, but they covered it with a flap from his scalp and forehead and he also has a mild infection, which doctors are treating.
Both social and mental health workers also began working with Poppo, as they and the doctors decide what to do with him next.
"Fifty percent of his face is gone, and he is missing all the features that would make him recognizable," said Dr. Wrood Kassira, Jackson chief of plastic surgery.
"He had wounds involving the forehead, both eyes and the cheek. We did skin grafts to his wounds, which are still healing and evolving. He is missing his eyebrows and his eyes. It is hard to see who he is," said Dr. Namias.
Poppo will need extensive reconstructive surgery, but a foundation in his name raised $15,000 to go towards his medical fees in this case. He also qualifies for Medicare and Medicaid.
"In terms of the cost of the care, the physician doesn't have to become concerned with it… We are allowed to take care of the patient… there will be a long-term cost," said Namias.
ABC News show graphic pictures of Poppo's injuries and recovery thus far on another page.
Huffington Post reportedEugene as a religious man, who carried a Bible, and claimed to battle the devil recently, but he also struggled with a drug problem. Accordingly, he allegedly told his friends he wanted to get “closer to God”.
His girlfriend of six years called him a sweet and well-mannered man with no history of violence and who rarely left home without a bible in his hand, but his ex-wife says she left him because he became increasingly violent toward her. His friends found him funny and religious but claimed that he had recently been "battling a devil." And even though he wasn't known to have a history of serious drug use, he was known to smoke marijuana a lot and was trying to stop. Although the speculative public, police and message boards have yet to see a toxicology report, there are too many similarities between Eugene's flesh eating attack on Poppo and other drug-induced homicides like the one Big Lurch had perpetrated in 2002 to rule out that Eugene my have been on drugs that day.
Nevertheless, it is still hard for almost anyone to believe that Rudy Eugene, a man who told his friends he wanted to get his life right and get "closer to God," woke up last Saturday and made a conscious decision to maim, kill or devour anyone's flesh. Which is why it is easier to blame it on bath salts and zombie apocalypses, until you realize that if you are trying to "get your life right" or "battle devils," Miami has become a hard city to do that in.
According to the Miami Herald, his girlfriend believes Eugene was drugged or cursed and she never believed in Voodoo until now.
Eugene’s girlfriend has her own theory on what happened that day. She believes Eugene was drugged unknowingly. The only other explanation, she said, was supernatural — that someone put a Vodou curse on him. The girlfriend, who unlike Eugene is not Haitian, said she has never believed in Vodou, until now.
On June 13, Pamela McCarthy, a 35-year-old New York mother allegedly attacked her three-year-old baby, by punching and choking him as she ran around naked while high on bath salts. She also tried to strangle her pit-bull. Police arrived to find her "violently combative" and in an effort to subdue her, an officer tased. When medical help arrived, she went into cardiac arrest. She died at the hospital, possibly from bath salts.
Paramedics took the child to another hospital upstate and treated for minor injuries, before the authorities released him to family members.
Increasing numbers of people are using potentially addictive Bath Salts, which doctors say is similar to amphetamines, causing euphoria, suicidal thoughts, paranoia, and "super human strength", in which even injury does not stop them, due to the affects the drug has on the nervous system. Police dread calls potentially related to the use of the Schedule I drug, but the prescription Oxycodone still outranks it concerning drug abuse, with many states banning their sale and use.
In October of last year, the DEA banned the sale of bath salts, as well as possession, across the nation for a year, but to ban on group of bath salts, ends up inviting another group of bath salts. The DEA cited an "imminent threat to public safety" for the reason of banning the possession and sale of the drug.
However, when one chemical found in bath salts is prohibited another is added to get round the law, attorney Alex Manning told CNN.
Describing the drug as "PCP on crack", Manning said that people are making the drug out of household products.
Most of the users are male, facing a potential heart attack during use, with behaviours much like that of a "zombie" from horror movies. Yet at the same time, the person on the drug is potentially dangerous to hospital staff also, because the staff must restrain the patient.
Dr. Juan Carlos Abanses, an ER pediatrician atHuntsvilleHospital, said the synthetic drug could cause severe paranoia and psychotic outbursts.
The drug has the same effects as ecstasy, speed, and LSD, according to Dr. Abanses. He said bath salts also have the same amphetamine affects on the heart and could cause seizures.
"A lot of people think they're safe because they're over-the-counter but they actually can be very dangerous," he said.
Dr. Abanses also noticed the use of bath salts has grown in the past year. He said he has treated a number of children in the ER due to adverse affects of the designer drug.
"We've seen several kids coming in with seizures, and some of them hallucinating," he said.
According to an ABC news video of an officer, it takes ten to fifteen people to subdue those high on bath salts. Doctors believe that the drug permanently alters the brain chemistry, but there is no test yet to know if these patients are doing these drugs.
Freddy Sharp, who says he has done drugs since he was 13, stated that bath salts are the "evilest thing imaginable."
"It really actually scared me pretty bad," he told CNN. 'It felt so evil. It felt like the darkest, evilest thing imaginable."
Sharp said he never felt the urge to "eat anybody's flesh" while on the drug, but described feeling "10 feet tall and bulletproof".
Asked to describe his overdose, Sharp said: "Fear. Darkness. It felt like impending doom was coming down on me … I felt like I was about to bust loose and actually hurt somebody."
Sharp, who said he has not taken the drug for "months", gave a warning to other users: "The only thing I can say to them is that if you value your life, you'll stop it and you won't do it anymore, because it will destroy your life. It will destroy your family. It will destroy everything."
The video shows paramedics loading Sharp into an ambulance, while asking him, "You know where you're at?" The young man could not answer.
'This is a terrible drug because it takes a combination of methamphetamine, and the paranoia and the aggressiveness, and LSD, the hallucinations, and PCP, the extreme paranoia that you get, combines it into one, and has unpredictable effects on human behavior, 'Paul Adams, a doctor at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, told CNN.
According to WBAL-TV reporter, "We have to get the word out, but at the same time, we've got to work with public health, law enforcement, the government to do something to get this off the market quickly," Gimbel said. Yet those making the drug are managing to stay one-step ahead of the law, but changing the ingredients frequently, making it more potent every time and not listing all the ingredients on packaging.
Even the CDC seems to be reacting to the “Zombie Apocalypse” stories in the media, explaining to people prepare for someone under the influence of bath salts with a “Zombie Apocalypse 101” under their “Emergency Preparedness 101” series. According to Salon Patch website, the CDC is doing this “[b]ecause of some high profile news stories about people using bath salts and cannibalism the CDC is seriously addressing the issue and telling people how to prepare for a Zombie Apocalypse.”
Time.com reported that CDC’s originally wrote the novella prior to the rash of bath salt incidents and they did not expect a “Zombie Apocalypse” as the media describes the people on bath salts.