Miami’s had its fair share of bizarre events and freak occurrences, but the “Miami cannibal attack” definitely takes the cake. In May of 2012, a naked Rudy Eugene was filmed attacking and biting the face of a homeless man on a highway in Miami, Florida. The police arrived on the scene and before the ink was dry on their report, people were already speculating that the “Miami cannibal” had been high on bath salts. Even though Eugene’s comprehensive drug screen turned up nothing but marijuana, many still think bath salts were involved. Whether or not they were, this bizarre incident has left everyone wondering: what are bath salts, anyway? The drugs commonly referred to as “bath salts” have nothing to do with actual bath salts. They simply look like the epsom crystals often used to take a nice, relaxing soak in the tub. When most people talk about the drug “bath salts,” they’re referring to mephedrone, which was synthesized almost a century ago but then discarded because it served no useful scientific purpose. In 2003, it was rediscovered by underground chemists who realized it did serve a purpose: bath salts not only get you high, but they’re not detected by drug tests. The reported effect of bath salts has been described as similar to MDMA (Ecstasy), speed and cocaine. While they provide a comparable high to these drugs, bath salts also have the advantage of evading drug tests. Because they are relatively new, they’re not included on typical drug screening panels. Moreover, they’re technically legal and therefore easier to obtain. Mephedrone disguised as actual bath salts is difficult to make illegal because it’s sold in packages that state “Not For Human Consumption.” The high that bath salts give, their ability to evade drug tests, and their legality all mean one thing for drug addicts and drug abusers. When someone is in treatment or therapy, drug tests are used to hold them accountable and make sure they’re staying sober. Yet, due to bath salts and drugs like it, it’s easier to fool people into believing that they’re actually sober. They never face the consequences of relapse and they continue to be dependent on drugs rather than experience life sober. In short, bath salts are just one more hurdle that recovering addicts have to overcome.
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