Miami Face-Eating Attack Brings Focus to Synthetic Drug Prevalence


The face-eating attack on a homeless man in Miami last month has brought renewed attention to Florida’s increasingly difficult efforts to stay one step ahead of an industry that is ready to profit from sales of legal but harmful synthetic drugs, reports the Miami Herald. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who has worked to outlaw manmade narcotic “bath salts,” is ready to add more chemicals to the list of banned substances, including “Spice” and other synthetic drugs sold at gas stations and specialty shops. Law enforcement officials, who are seeing a spike in uncharacteristically violent behavior associated with users of synthetic drugs, worry that with every banned chemical added to the list, manufacturers of the compounds concoct a new combination that gets around the ban.

They want Bondi, state legislators and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to make it harder for manufacturers to circumvent existing bans. Currently, every new compound has to be identified before it is outlawed, and law enforcement officials say it's time for a new system. “We could have 10,000 different substances banned before long, as the chemists in China or wherever they are keep modifying them,” said Tommy Ford of the Bay County Sheriff's Office. Toxicology reports haven’t shown whether Rudy Eugene, the Miami causeway attacker shot dead by police May 26, used so-called bath salts or other drugs. Some police officers speculate that he may have been under their influence when he attacked Ronald Poppo, a 65-year-old homeless man still clinging to life.)

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