'Zombie' Attacks Won't Stop Even If We Ban Bath Salt Drug

Bath salts are taking the fall for the Miami "zombie" attack and legislators are using the publicity to push legislation through banning the synthetic dug. It seems like a great idea, right? Ban the thing that causes people to eat faces. It's a no brainer. But not so fast.

Authorities believe that 31-year-old Rudy Eugene was on "bath salts" -- "a designer street hallucinogen," according to Roll Call -- when he took all of his clothing off and attacked Ronald Poppo, 65, eating much of his face before the police shot him to death. It's a gruesome, horrific story and legislators are quick to blame the drug.

Until recently, bath salts were available for purchase with the warning label, "not for human consumption," but the House and Senate were already working to criminalize the ingredients in the drug. Now the case might help that along.

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At first glance it seems like the obvious way to go, but making drugs illegal hasn't really stopped the rampant drug problem in this country. People who want drugs will get them.

Even more, there are already more than 30 states, including Florida, that have a ban on bath salts. How did that help in this case? The Drug Enforcement Administration is already operating under a temporary emergency ban but the Congressional action would permanently put a nationwide ban in place.

So fine. I hardly plan to use a drug that causes extreme aggression, paranoia, psychosis, depression, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, temporary bursts of seemingly superhuman strength, and possibly even death. No thanks.

But we are notorious for reacting to publicity strongly and definitively and not actually solving the issue. Will banning them really solve the issue?

Given that they were banned in the very place where the infamous attack took place, my guess is no. Congress may very well act on this and this may very well pass. But let's not even begin to imagine we have seen the last of bath salts.

Do you think a ban is a good thing?

 

Image via Raquel Baranow/Flickr

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