As a homeless man lies in a Miami hospital with 75 percent of his face chewed off from a horrific cannibal attack, a drug company is using the crime as an opportunity to boost sales of bath salts, which are thought to have crazed the attacker.
AM-HI-CO, one of the largest distributors of so-called synthetic drugs in the U.S, is offering 15 percent off all bath salts.
The discount offer comes days after the harrowing 18-minute cannibal attack, where Ronald Poppo, 65, was pounced on while sleeping on elevated train tracks on a causeway. His attacker, Rudy Eugene, 31, had scattered his clothes from the beach to the mainland in Miami, before punching and straddling the homeless man and proceeding to eat his face, police say.
Poppo was still in critical condition Wednesday.
Eugene, who was shot dead by police when he would not stop, was thought to be on the bath salt drugs at the time, although toxicology results will not come out for several weeks.
The bath salt drug is referred to as “the new LSD,” according to emergency room doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital. “We noticed an increase probably after Ultra Fest,” a music festival that took place in March, Dr. Paul Adams of Jackson Memorial told CBS.
The drug elevates the body temperature, which is most likely what led to Eugene ripping off his clothes and reaching a state of extreme delirium.
It took six officers to restrain Eugene before he was shot dead. The process of restraining an attacker on the drug can be extremely dangerous for law enforcement, rescue workers and hospital staff, according to Adams.
“It’s dangerous for the firefighters. It’s dangerous for the hospital workers taking care of them because they come in, they have to be restrained both chemically and physically and you’re asking for someone to get hurt,” he told CBS.
So-called bath salts are a mix of chemicals sold as a synthetic — and in some states, legal — alternative to stimulants like LSD, PCP, cocaine and methamphetamine. They can be snorted, smoked or broken down and injected, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Bath salts are not the only name given to the drug, according to Louisiana Poison Center director Mark Ryan. “We’ve seen products labeled ‘plant food,’ ‘glass cleaner,’ even ‘toilet cleaner.’ But what’s actually inside the bottle is anybody’s guess,” he told CBS.
AM-HI-CO, a drug company that started in the U.K, sells many types of synthetic drugs including “poppers” (amyl nitrate) and strong incense blends. It has faced many lawsuits, according to US News, but this has not stopped it from distributing various blends of the synthetic drugs.
The company sells more than 10 types of bath salts, which are labeled as “novelty collector’s items,” U.S News reports. Some of the salts sold by the company bear the label, “This product is not intended for human consumption … For health and safety reasons, avoid the use of alcohol, prescription medicines, intoxicants, or similar products when bathing using Ivory Wave or any other collector’s item sold on this site. For external use only; do not insulfate (sic) or otherwise inhale Ivory Wave.”
While some Facebook users are delighted by the company’s discount, others have condemned the company for the timing of the offer.
“Thank you for supporting the zombie apocalypse! If you ever sell my child your product I will stuff it up you’re a-s until it comes out your nose,” writes April Garland in a Facebook comment.