So-called "bath salts" are powerful designer substances that look like real bath salts (and sometimes have been sold disguised as them). The "zombie drug" flakka is essentially the second generation of these terrifying chemicals. These substances initially skirted laws since the compounds used to make them weren't yet regulated in most of the United States (though you won't be surprised to learn that those laws have changed).
These synthetic cathinones are highly addictive and have become popular because they are 10 times more powerful than coke and far cheaper. However, when a substance’s best-case scenario is that you wind up unclothed on the news under the most humiliating circumstances possible, and its worst-case scenario is that you eat someone’s face, what could possibly be the basis of its appeal?
Sure, flakka and bath salts give users an initial sense of euphoria, but that quickly turns into paranoia, hallucinations, a skyrocketing body temperature, and extreme aggression. There really doesn’t seem to be a good way to trip on these dangerous designer substances. Here are some of the most gruesome and downright insane flakka and bath salts stories to make headlines.
On May 26, 2012, a 31-year-old homeless man named Rudy Eugene was discovered chowing down on another man’s face in broad daylight. The target, named Ronald Poppo, had much of his face chewed off (including his eyebrows, his nose, parts of his forehead and cheek, and his left eye) before police ordered Eugene to stop. Eugene just growled at the officers, who were forced to fire on him four times before he finally went down. One witness described the gruesome scene to ABC News: "The forehead was just bone, no nose, no mouth."
Investigators claimed Eugene's behavior was consistent with bath salt use, but initial toxicology reports found only cannabis in his system. However, many experts continue to believe he was on a related bath salts-type substance, and say that municipal toxicology labs are not yet equipped to test for many new, synthetic substances.
A man named Mark Thompson decided to go on a three-day bath salt binge in his home in Alum Creek, West Virginia, in May 2011, and it went about as horribly as could be expected. Thompson got a hold of his neighbor’s pygmy goat, brought it into his home, and pierced its neck.
When the neighbors entered his home, they found Thompson wearing a bra and no pants. There was blood everywhere. Next to the deceased goat were explicit images. Thompson bolted out the front door and was later found in the woods by police.
Not only did Kenneth Crowder of Melbourne, Florida, get high on flakka and proudly declare himself the god Thor, but he also tried to have relations with a tree, attacked a cop, and was seen running unclothed through the streets. The police officer on the scene tried tasing him, but Crowder plucked the electric probes from his body and started beating the officer.
Crowder then took the cop’s own badge from him and tried to pierce him with it. The officer was finally able to subdue him and get him in cuffs.
In April 2011, Army Sgt. David Stewart and his wife Kristy were caught speeding on the interstate in Spanaway, Washington, by a Washington State Patrol trooper. The trooper chased after the pair. During the chase, Stewart fired at his wife and then crashed his car. Stewart then fired on himself before he could be apprehended. Their 5-year-old son Jordan was later found deceased in their home - it is presumed he was ended by one or both of his parents.
Toxicology tests confirmed that both Stewart and his wife had bath salts in their systems. More packets of bath salts were found in their house, in their car, and on Stewart's person.