Bath salts are an increasing source of media attention in the weeks after an ostensibly healthy and normal man attacked a homeless guy on a Miami street, chewing the other man’s face off and failing to stop even after he was shot by a police officer- and while the drug sounds a bit worrying, the bath salts fervor also seems to have all the hallmarks of a standard-issue drug panic.
Bath salts have been linked to the attack since it became internationally notable, but no one can exactly say why this particular incident and a little-known synthetic drug that for a long time flew under the radar at gas stations and in head shops is somehow the main suspect after the bizarre incident. Police almost immediately cited bath salts as a possible precipitate for the gruesome and unprovoked attack, but no indication of even a tenuous connection outside speculation was made in relation to the incident by authorities.
Still, a lack of solid evidence has not stopped the media from running with the bath salts story. Everyone from small blogs to major news networks is talking about bath salts and their potential effects on users, with the goriest and scariest recollections making headlines and getting airtime on network news stations. While Reuters points out that there isn’t even one single definition for “bath salts,” as the drugs are made by “street chemists,” the bath salts panic rages on.
One “former bath salts addict” named Freddy Sharp appeared on CNN to discuss his experiences as a bath salts user, and Sharp played up the horror aspect of the synthetic drug.
Speaking to the network about his experiences on bath salts, Sharp explained that the drug “actually scared [him] pretty bad,” and said his bath salts experiences “felt like the darkest, evilest thing imaginable.”
A Miami doctor who spoke to the network said that bath salts pose a larger danger than many other street drugs, due to the fact that they cause hallucinations as well as paranoia, aggression and a strong resistance to pain. Not to underestimate the danger of bath salts, but didn’t they teach us the same thing about marijuana in the DARE program?