June 5, 2012

Canadian Government Looking To Make Zombie Drug Illegal

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com

Since "zombie attacker" Rudy Eugene made headlines over the Memorial Day weekend, lawmakers in Canada are now trying to ban the drug that led a man to chew another man's face off.

Eugene, a 31-year-old, was shot and killed by police after he attacked and began to consume the face of 65-year-old Ronald Poppo in Miami, Florida.

The attack was reminiscent of what would be written out in a zombie movie, but was actually caused by a drug known as "bath salts."

The drug, also known as MDPV, is a dangerous, hallucinogenic drug that the Canadian government is aiming to now eradicate.

In a recent interview with CNN, former bath salt drug user Freddy Sharp said being on the drug "felt evil."

"I'd never experienced anything like that," Sharp told CNN's Don Lemon. "It really actually scared me pretty bad."

He said he was hallucinating about being in a mental hospital and being possessed by Friday the 13th movie star Jason Voorhees.

Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq told a news conference on Tuesday that the government plans to regulate MDPV, which is a key ingredient in bath salts.

She said the goal is to give law enforcement tools to combat the "new and emerging drug that ruins lives and causes havoc in communities across the country."

The government plans to add the drug to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, placing it in the same category as heroin and cocaine.

The drug is sold by dealers through the Internet or in drug paraphernalia shops, according to the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse.

“The general public, especially youth, should be aware that although ℠bath salts´ are often identified as ℠legal highs´ or ℠not illegal´ this does not make them safe,” the CCSA report says.

Aglukkaq said that regulating MDPV will make possessing, trafficking, importing, exporting and producing bath salts illegal.

"This will make it harder for people to deal in or even manufacture these so-called bath salts," Aglukkaq said at an event in Ottawa.

"These are not typical household bath salts, they are not the Epsom salts or the scented crystals that you will find in many Canadian homes and pharmacies. These are drugs, serious drugs," she said.

The drug is already banned in the U.S. and other countries, and has been posing a challenge to law enforcement because drug-sniffing dogs and urine screens can miss it.

The drug is also hard to track down because it is being packaged and sold as authentic consumer bath salts, plant food and insect repellant.

Frederiction's police chief, Barry MacKnight, who is vice-president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, said making bath salts illegal is an important step.

"This is sending a strong message to Canadians and especially young Canadians that this drug is harmful," he said at the news conference.