Bath-a-Salts

While looking at another topic (check back tomorrow), I stumbled across this odd item.  Remember the “naked cannibal face-eating zombie” in Florida who was allegedly on “bath salts” as the reason for his behavior?  (Later, this was said to be merely marijuana.) I’d not heard of “bath salts” as a narcotic prior to the incident, but subsequently have heard of other (somewhat similar) “bath salt” cases in which “zombie” or “cannibal” winds up being used to describe the suspect.  (Other incidents have been supposedly based on grain alchohol, as in this report about a Chinese man.)  Still, bath salts were suddenly talked about — and I was intrigued.

Ah, but then I saw this article: Florida Governor Rick Scott had signed a bill into law in June 2011, months before the first famous cannibal incident:

Scott also signed a bill that makes it illegal to possess MDPV sold as bath salts. Those convicted could face up to five years in prison. The drugs are being sold in malls, head shops, convenience stores and other retail outlets, often near displays of energy drinks. They can be snorted like cocaine, smoked or injected.

The drug has been likened to LSD and can produce hallucinations, severe paranoia, seizures, aggression, increased blood pressure and kidney failure.

So, this problem was not new.  And in fact this drug website documents it in an article from 2009:

COMMON & BRAND NAMES:MDPV; NRG-1; Bath Salts
EFFECTS CLASSIFICATION:Stimulant
CHEMICAL NAME:3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone
DESCRIPTION:MDPV is an uncommon stimulant with a short history of human use. It is known for its tendency to cause compulsive redosing and some users report sexual arousal as an effect. MDPV has been found in products labeled as “bath salts” and “plant food/fertilizer”.

On the link above are details about the effects as well as the legal status: It was added to the federal Schedule I just last month (July 2012), and about half the states have laws on it, most dating to 2011.  The timing of this indicates that the states saw the rise of the problem a year before — but the Senate voted 96-1 to ban the drug’s components only after the widely publicized (and apparently wrong) attribution of the cannibal attacks to MDPV.

It is possible that I am immune to this drug, as I am to most (perhaps all) narcotics — but I have no intention of trying the experiment. This substance seems extraordinarily tough on its users.  (One of the many listed negative effects is “fiending” — but that’s not quite what it sounds like. The word was new to me.)

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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