Update on Miami ‘face eater’ and Bath Salts
Sorry for the silence on the blog recently, a combination of gigs in exciting locations (Odessa sea front), conferences practically in the Arctic Circle (Oulu – blog on that to come) and hiding in Cornwall to write some papers have meant I haven’t had a moment, but…
I’ve just seen that the toxicology report came back on Tuesday for Rudy Eugene, the man shot dead by police while chewing another man’s face on the side of the causeway.
Initially a drug called bath salts was blamed, and I wrote a blog about the drug, also commenting that there was as yet no evidence he had taken anything at all.
And so back to the toxicology report. According to reports in The Guardian and The Huffington Post, none of the chemicals usually present in bath salts were found during the toxicology tests. In fact, the only drug found in his body was cannabis (I assume this means they found delta-9-THC – the active component of cannabis, but I can’t find anywhere that reports this).
This quote was taken from the Guardian, who were quoting a press release from the Medical Examiner’s office:
“The laboratory has tested for but not detected any other street drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs, or any adulterants found in street drugs. This includes cocaine, LSD, amphetamines (ecstasy, meth and others), phencyclidine (PCP or “angel dust”), heroin, oxycodone, Xanax, synthetic marijuana (“spice”), and many other similar compounds."
So it doesn’t sound like it was ‘bath salts madness’ then – but could cannabis cause this kind of extreme reaction? Well, there is evidence from a randomised controlled trial that delta-9-THC intoxication can transiently induce the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, namely paranoia, grandiose delusions, hallucinations and depersonalisation (see D’Souza et al, 2004 for the trial).
However, seeing things or feeling paranoid isn’t quite the same as what happened in Miami, so once again, I think it’s likely to be a little more complicated than a drug causing a reaction.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this development to the story!