Experts Say Pot Didn't Trigger Miami Zombie Attack and Bath Salts May Yet Be to Blame
Though final toxicology results on Rudy Eugene's blood turned up only traces of marijuana, experts say there's no way pot could have caused him to eat a man's face. Instead, some suggest he might have been under the influence of a bath-salts-like substance that laboratories are not yet equipped to detect.
In results released yesterday, the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner said it found no drugs other than marijuana in Eugene's system. An outside laboratory was brought in to help check for synthetic substances. MDPV, the active ingredient in many forms of bath salts, was not found. Five other chemicals commonly found in bath salts were also absent.
Experts talking to Discovery News say there's no way marijuana is to blame for the attack.
"Some people have said, 'Well, it must have been the marijuana that triggered Eugene's behavior.' That, in my opinion, is outrageous, and out of the question. Marijuana will not cause this type of behavior," said Dr. Bruce Goldberger, professor and director of toxicology at the University of Florida.
Goldberger said that although a significant amount of research has found a link between marijuana use and the onset of schizophrenia or psychosis in at-risk individuals, this isn't what happened to Eugene. "This behavior exhibited by Eugene is well beyond the scope of someone suffering from acute psychosis," he told Life's Little Mysteries. Some experts believe that bath salts or a similar drug might still be to blame.
Because recent Florida law now bans many of the chemicals originally found in bath salts, many manufactures simply reformulated the drugs. There could be hundreds of synthetic amphetamines on the streets.
"I don't believe the laboratory could confidently screen against all bath-salts-type drugs," Patrick Kyle, director of clinical chemistry and toxicology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, told Discovery News.
Though the toxicology report ruled out the most common forms of bath salts, we may never know for sure what chemicals, if any, caused Eugene to bite the flesh off Ronald Poppo's face.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.