Bath Salts And The Zombie Apocalypse
Real Relationship Advice
If you have been watching the news, you may be thinking that the zombie apocalypse has begun. For those of you that were in your basement cleaning your shotgun and polishing your baseball bat (because you never run out of ammunition with a bat), here is what happened. In Miami, a man attacked a homeless person and ate his face. This was not a slow Hannibal Lector kind of meal but a rabid badger kind of attack. Oh, and the guy was naked. The police finally had to shoot the man. Then in New Jersey, a man cut open his own abdomen and threw his intestines at the police trying to enter his house.
These would be zombies are the victims of the effects of a drug called bath salts. Since Lee is an addiction professional and both of us have years of experience working in substance abuse, we could not pass up this opportunity to write about drugs because ‘Drugs are bad, omkay’. At least the ones that make you strip off your clothes and eat the nearest indigent.
Bath salts are a relatively new designer drug. It came out somewhere around 2002 and only became illegal about a year and a half ago. Why did it take so long to become illegal? That is where the ‘designer’ part of designer drugs comes into play. Something does not become illegal unless someone makes it illegal and to do that, the government has a whole bunch of steps and criteria that needs to be filled in accordance to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
Any good drug dealer keeps a morally ambiguous chemist on staff to get around the CSA. I was offered that job once. It was 1985 and I was in party mode during college. All of my friends were the actor/singer/performer types so I needed my thing to impress the crowd. Remember that my bachelor’s is in Physics which is only a small hop from Chemistry. My trick became mixing up little chemical stunts like explosives or knockout drops. I was able to do all of that MacGyver stuff with common household cleaners. Apparently someone heard of my renowned abilities and he approached me to create designer drugs. He offered me $55,000 annually (in 1985 I was making something under 20K) and went to great lengths to explain that this was not illegal. I would be synthesizing new and legal drugs from a model of an existing drug. I would take LSD, for example, and make it just different enough that it no longer qualified as a controlled substance but still retained its hallucinogenic properties. For those of you with good moral compasses (and our readers in law enforcement) I turned him down. It did give me a huge education in drug dealing.
Bath salts are a designer drug combination of three synthetic compounds: 3, 4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, and methylone. All three of them are in the same chemical category of cathinones and all are very strong and very addictive stimulants. (We will talk more about stimulants throughout this week.) The reason that they are named bath salts also has to do with legal loopholes. Since the components were unregulated, they dealers packaged them as bath salt, like the kind that you soak in, with a warning label that said, ‘not for human consumption’. Magically, the dealer was no longer responsible if his clients used the product irresponsibly. It was not his fault that he inadvertently started the zombie apocalypse.
Stay tuned as we continue our conversation about zombies and the effects of drugs on the flesh eating brain. We suggest that you have breakfast first.