The U.S. held it’s breath when headlines broke that the man on the left, Rudy Eugene, ate the face off the man on the right, Ronald Poppo, in Miami, Fla. Several other similar incidents have occurred. They all involve a) people on drugs, and b) people going psychotic because of a). America’s first thought? Zombiesss.
Come on people. Your obsession with The Walking Dead and stockpiling for impeding doom might help boost the economy, but zombies aren’t real. There is no zombie virus. The cause for these gnarly flesh-eating assaults is something much simpler: bath salts. It’s a term that has been thrown around a lot in the news, but not entirely explained. Here’s a rundown.
Not your mother’s bath salts.
For hundreds of years, people have used salts in baths to improve the bathing experience. When salt is added to water, it changes the osmosis so that less water is absorbed through the skin. Also, it can affect the buoyancy of water, making it easier for a person to float. These salts are used in bathhouses and spas and are sold under the name “bath salts,” they are widely available. They are not dangerous and not intended for consumption.
In the past few years, a different group of “bath salts” has emerged. They are not salts intended for bath usage at all, but rather dangerous designer drugs intended to be smoked, snorted or injected. They can be purchased here.
The poor man’s cocaine.
There are three synthetic stimulants prevalent in bath salts that mess you up: methylenedioxypryrovalerone or MDPV, methylone and mephedrone. Although these chemicals are in the amphetamine class, their composition in bath salts may vary.
Bath salts reportedly give users a high similar to that of cocaine or meth. The effects last no more than a few hours. Bath salt usage has exploded in recent years due to its legal grey area and ease of accessibility over the internet.
Bath salts are illegal (sort of).
In October 2011, the DEA placed a ban on the three synthetic stimulants prevalent in bath salts, citing an “imminent threat to public safety.” The ban is effective for at least a year. It is likely that the DEA will forever make bath salts illegal.
Still, bath salts are widely available online.