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‘Miami Cannibal’ Was High on Pot, Not Bath Salts

Rudy Eugene
Handout, Getty Images

“Miami Cannibal” Rudy Eugene may have been having a psychotic episode when he stripped naked and started chewing on the face of homeless man Ronald Poppo. But the 31-year-old’s behavior wasn’t triggered by the drug known as “bath salts,” as many have suggested.

According to a toxicology report performed on Eugene, who was shot dead by police as he munched on Poppo, the only “street drug” found in his system was traces of marijuana.

Eugene’s shocking crime touched off a national discussion on bath salts, which are powdered drugs that contain at least one amphetamine-type substance. Even though bath salts can result in panic attacks, hallucinations and psychosis, the synthetic drug can be purchased legally in some parts of the United States.

Just this week a bill placing a federal ban on bath salts passed the Senate 92-4 with President Obama expected to sign it into law. Eugene had been used as an example for why the drug should be made illegal.

Previously, an autopsy revealed that there were no chunks of Poppo’s flesh in Eugene’s stomach, suggesting the so-called “cannibal” wasn’t actually trying to eat his victim.

Poppo lost his nose and one of his eyes in the attack. Despite his horrific wounds, doctors describe the 65-year-old as “charming” and “upbeat” about his recovery.

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