Is there a new street drug that triggers homicidal rages?

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Update: May 28, 2012

A bizarre case of cannibalism occurred in Miami when two naked men by the highway were found. One man was eating the face off of the other. The police eventually shot and killed the man.

Dr. William O’Neill, A professor of medicine at the University of Miami, said, “…a new version of LSD is on the streets here. People hallucinate, feel their flesh is burning, and (perform cannibalism). This will not be the last you have heard of this!

Update: July 17, 2011

The Sunday New York Times has a feature article on these new synthetic drugs.

February 14, 2011

Within the last 30-days, three high-profile mass murders have been associated with illicit drug use. First, Rep. Giffords was shot, and six others killed, by a mentally ill young man, Jared Lee Loughner, known to use marijuana and the new “synthetic pot”. By many accounts, he began a downward spiral into insanity.

The next case involved a drug-addicted mother in Tampa, Julie Powers Schenecker, who shot her teenage daughter and son because they were “mouthy”. Video of the woman being walked in handcuffs showed her shaking uncontrollably, possibly in withdrawal. The family had unsuccessfully attempted to get help with her drug addiction. Her preferred drug of choice has not been reported.

Now, in New York City, a crazed 23-year-old man, Maksim Gelman, stabbed his father and a young woman, killing them both, while also nonfatally stabbing several others over the course of a day-long rampage. The New York Post reported that he had built a bizarre shrine to the woman under a freight train overpass tunnel where he also went to use illicit street drugs.

What is going on? All of these cases could have occurred by complete coincidence, unrelated, and might not represent any new trend. Alternatively, a new street drug, or combination of prescription and street drugs, might be triggering homicidal rampages.

While many drugs are well known to increase suicide and have “black box” FDA warnings, attributing homicide as a “side effect” has much greater criminal and societal implications. Therefore, the FDA and press rarely comment on homicide as being related to any type of drug.

The New York Times recently reported on the common consumption of multiple prescription drug cocktails by members of the military. The skyrocketing suicide rate in the military might be caused by these medications since the risks are well-documented.

Several reports published over the last 12-months indicate that heavy marijuana use triggers schizophrenia. With “medicinal marijuana” making it much easier to obtain the drug in many States, usage has increased.

A new “synthetic pot“, also known as “K2” or “spice”, is being banned by various governments as the mental side effects are becoming known. The crazed murderer in the Arizona Rep. Giffords case reportedly used synthetic pot.

Also in the news lately has been the bizarre practice of snorting “bath salts” for their intoxicating effects. Bath salts contain stimulants mephedrone and MDVP.  Senator Schumer of New York is trying to ban the unregulated sale of bath salts.

Jeff Lapoint, MD is a toxicologist with the NYC Poison Control and Bellevue Hospital. In a telephone interview, he said, “The people we see on (synthetic pot) tend to be sick, more on the unconscious, more on the seizing side of the spectrum than on the agitated delirium “I’m going to hurt someone” side, but (synthetic pot) definitely makes people more agitated, more tachycardic than just marijuana. You can’t get pure THC (the active ingredient of marijuana), but you can get pure powder form of (synthetic pot). Gram for gram, (synthetic pot) is more powerful than marijuana”

Dr. Lapoint was not aware of new State or CDC warnings being issued about any specific new street drug causing violence and homicide. However, if you know of anyone at the workplace, school, or neighborhood who is behaving strangely and takes illicit drugs, the authorities should be notified.

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1 Response to Is there a new street drug that triggers homicidal rages?

  1. Judith says:

    Scary stuff. It’s sickening to me that doctors and the general public don’t realize how seriously drugs–OTC, prescribed, illegal whatever–change the body’s chemical composition and that of it’s most important organ, the brain.

    Here’s an even scarier fact: drug companies are increasingly testing drugs in less developed countries. The test subjects are so poor that they often lie to the testing companies and are involved in more than one drug test at a time. Obviously this practise does not result in reliable data.

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