Zombie stories have been all the rage for decades, dating as far back to the 1932 film, White Zombie, to the cult classic, Evil Dead, and the fairly recent soon-to-be classic, Zombieland. It should come as no surprise, then, that when the dubbed “Miami Zombie” story hit headlines, we, the general public, would naturally eat it up – pun intended?
By now, we have most likely heard many recounts of the tale many times – naked man attacks homeless man beneath a Florida causeway, devours the flesh of the homeless man’s face, barely acknowledges being shot at by police until in the end, one man is dead, and one man is alive, but without a face.
Nearly every aspect of this gruesome and unfortunate turn of events has been covered: drug abuse, synthetic legal drugs, homelessness, police brutality, even voodoo. However, while Epsom salts may have undeservingly received a bad rep thanks to “bath salts” making a rapid advance into the common knowledge/household names realm, there’s one crucial piece to this puzzle that has somehow more or less been forgotten. What exactly are these “bath salts”, and why would they make someone act out the most terrifying of zombie tales in real life?
MDPV (short for methylenedioxypyrovalerone – cheers to acronyms!) and mephedrone are two of the main ingredients used to create bath salts. These two chemical drugs are both cathinones, forms of which are found naturally in the Catha edulis plant. Both chemicals are similar to amphetamines, and illegal in the US.
Contrary to recent popular belief, neither of these chemicals acts as a hallucinogen. Neither is there any evidence that they cause a hunger for human flesh, as is so much a part of the current memeosphere. Mephedrone is a stimulant and MDPV is both a stimulant and psychoactive drug, meaning the drug crosses the blood-brain barrier and causes changes in neurochemical function, resulting in amplifying effects on mood, thought, perception, and behavior. Who would have thought?
According to Doctor Anthony Ocon of New York Medical College,
“These two drug components making up bath salts are thought to cause euphoria, a rush feeling, and heightened libido – those are the effects people seek them out for. However, they also cause paranoia, psychosis, erratic behavior, insomnia, memory disturbances, and resistance to pain – which could explain why the gentleman in Florida was initially unresponsive to being shot”.
These chemicals are entirely man-made, and have had cameo appearances in laboratories since the 1960s and 1920s respectively. While the recreational use of them is something of a novel concept, their intended use when they were originally developed is actually quite mundane: MDPV and mephedrone are synthetic fertilizer additives. Clearly, our nation’s corn crop has been having a much better time of it than we might have thought!
Bath salts, improperly named and with the warning “not for human ingestion” on their packaging to bypass the FDA, are currently legal, relatively inexpensive, and conveniently sold at many stores and shops throughout the U.S. Contrast this with marijuana, which is illegal because it is clearly a much larger threat and the answer to what is wrong with our country. Bon appetit.