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PUBLISHED: 05:23 EST, 24 June 2012 | UPDATED: 01:50 EST, 25 June 2012
- ‘Bath salts’ being imported via English-based websites
The drug being blamed for a spate of cannibal attacks in the U.S. is entering the country from the UK.
Horrific assaults in which users of a substance known as ‘bath salts’ have eaten victims’ flesh have given rise to speculation that America is in the throes of a ‘zombie apocalypse’.
Getting hold of the drug via the internet can be shockingly easy, requiring just a few clicks of the mouse and no proof of age, a U.S. news channel discovered.
First attack: Fears of a zombie epidemic spread after Miami police shot Rudy Eugene (left) dead as he chewed off the face of homeless Ronald Poppo (right)
Bath salts have been linked to a number of disturbing cases over the past month – including that of Rudy Eugene, who was shot dead by police as he bit off most of his homeless victim’s face. Officers in Miami opened fire after Eugene ignored their orders to stop, snarling at them as he stood over 65-year-old Ronald Poppo, who was left partially blind.
Earlier this month, two attacks in one day fuelled fears that the phenomenon was spreading.
In Lafayette, Louisiana, 42-year-old Carl Jacquneaux is alleged to have torn off part of his neighbour’s cheek – and is believed to have taken bath salts or a similar drug. Todd Credeur, 48, is married to Jacquneaux’s ex-wife and said he only managed to escape by spraying wasp poison in the man’s face.
Beat her toddler: Pamela McCarthy, who died after police Tasered her as she went on a naked rampage
Meanwhile, again in Miami, homeless Brandon de Leon threatened to eat a police officer after he was arrested during a fight at a restaurant. The 21-year-old gnashed his teeth, growled and tried to bite the man, who was tending to his self-inflicted wounds after he smashed his own head against the inside of a patrol car and then on the walls of a cell.
And on June 12, a 35-year-old mother punched and choked her young son while under the influence of bath salts. After beating the three-year-old, Pamela McCarthy was pictured rampaging naked through the streets of Munnsville, New York, as she attacked her neighbours and strangled one of her dogs. She later died of a heart attack after police subdued her with a Taser.
The drug has been described as a synthetic alternative to cocaine and methamphetamine and is sold under a variety of names including Cloud 9, Tranquility and Ivory Wave.
One drug addict who shared his experience of taking bath salts said its effects ‘felt like the darkest, evilest thing imaginable’. A YouTube clip shows a delirious Freddy Sharp, 27, being restrained by paramedics after an overdose led him to believe he was possessed by Jason Vorhees, the psychopathic killer from the Friday the 13th horror films.
Authorities have found many American users order their bath salts from web-based companies operating from the UK, the Sun on Sunday reports.
As part of an investigation by news network NBC, a 16-year-old girl was able to order a shipment from an English supplier. Though the firm claimed it would not sell to under-18s, the delivery soon showed up at the station’s studios. Police say they cannot stop such sales as the substance is not illegal in the U.S.
Crazed: McCarthy charges at her child and his father during her drug-fuelled spree in New York
A simple web search is all it takes to unearth sellers operating out in the open, as they cover themselves with the flimsiest of disclaimers.
Websites label the powders ‘research chemicals’ or mark them ‘not for human consumption’, making little reference to the drug’s possible effects. Users have been known to enter a state of manic delirium, and some feel so hot they often strip off. Those who become aggressive can be extremely difficult to control, with police struggling to restrain them.
Just this weekend a 20-year-old man allegedly hit a 77-year-old woman over the head with a shovel after she asked him to stop swinging it at birds. Robert William White, who had to be shot with a Taser and a rubber bullet after taking bath salts, told police in Glendale, California, that he was an alien and could talk to Jesus.
Out in the open: Bath salts such as these, branded as Cloud 9, are easily available on the internet
Bath salts usually contain a combination of chemicals including methylone, MDPV and mephedrone – which caused panic in 2009 after sales of the drug rapidly spread under the names MCAT and meow meow.
U.S. authorities have imposed a 12-month emergency ban on the three components, and in Britain MDPV is illegal.
But drug enforcers on both sides of the Atlantic have had to play catch-up with the dealers as they exploit loopholes by making subtle changes to the chemical makeup.
The wave of frenzied attacks linked to bath salts has been so inhumanly violent that many suspected it was the sort of zombie epidemic imprinted on the public imagination by the likes of TV series The Walking Dead and the films of George Romero.
The Center for Disease Control even felt it necessary to address these fears, saying: ‘CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms)’.
VIDEO: Addict describes ‘evil’ effects of bath salts