Bath Salts Can Turn Someone Into a "Wild Beast," Psychiatrist Says

The synthetic designer drug was banned in Florida last year, but is available online

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dr. Daniel Bober discusses the synthetic designer drug nicknamed "bath salts," which he says can cause psychosis, agitation and paranoia. (Published Friday, Jun 1, 2012)

    The toxicology report for Miami face-chewing attacker Rudy Eugene has not been released yet.

    But in the meantime a lot of attention is being paid to “bath salts,” a drug stimulant that can cause psychosis. The synthetic designer drug was sold in head shops and convenience stores until it was banned in Florida last year.

    The bath salts Vanilla Sky and Ivory Wave are sold online, however. A little packet of small white crystals costs about $30 for a fraction of an ounce.

    “The name bath salts is a name that the street chemists are giving it to skirt the law to fly below the radar of law enforcement,” psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Bober said.

    Even though it states not for human consumption on the websites and packages, people are mostly snorting or swallowing these bath salts, Bober says.

    “These are substances that are known to be stimulants. They can cause psychosis, agitation, paranoia. They basically can turn a person into a wild beast,” he said. “They shut off the part of the brain that causes rational control over your decisions.”

    When such cases show up in local emergency rooms, there's no way to detect the chemicals in bath salts through traditional blood and urine tests, though sometimes the patients will say what they've used.

    “I have treated them in the Emergency Department, and I have seen this type of behavior – this extreme paranoia, this almost superhuman strength where they can break through handcuffs,” Bober says.

    Eugene's girlfriend has said she believes he was either unknowingly drugged or placed under a voodoo curse.

    The Miami attack has caught the attention of lawmakers in Washington, who are talking about a federal ban that would make it illegal to sell bath salts online.