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Cannibal Drug: MDPV Effects And Similarities To Flakka

Discover the dark history of the cannibal drug, the effects of its component MDPV, and the similarities to the Flakka drug
MDPV (Methylenedioxypyrovalerone) is a psychoactive stimulant sold as "cocaine substitutes" or "synthetic LSD."

 

In recent years there has been a surge in violent and strange behavior among drug users. Specialists identified the source as being the devastating narcotic called MDPV, methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or bath salts, a psychoactive stimulant with effects similar to amphetamines.

The term Cannibal drug was coined after various incidents took place around the world, most notably, a gruesome attack in Miami where a 31-year-old man attacked a homeless person, beating him unconscious and biting off most of his face.

We will have a look at the horrendous effects of bath salts and their similarities to the Flakka drug, an equally destructive narcotic. 

What are bath salts (MDPV)?

MDPV (Methylenedioxypyrovalerone) is a psychoactive stimulant narcotic that acts as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). MDPV is the active ingredient in “bath salts,” a designer drug that is currently labeled as ‘not for human consumption.’ 

These drugs are part of a class known as synthetic cathinones - stimulants with similar effects to amphetamines which speed up the messages between the brain and the body.

The drug was first isolated from the khat plant and synthesized in the 1930s, although it wasn't until 2009 that documented fatalities associated with MDPV started to surface all over the world. 

Cannibal drug, or synthetic cocaine, comes in the form of tiny crystals, similar to real bath salts, or the form of a white or light tan powder and users typically snort it, although it can be smoked, injected, or taken rectally. 

Bath salts have various street names, although these continuously change. A few of the slang terms for MDPV are: 

  • Ivory Wave
  • Bliss
  • Blue Silk
  • Charge Plus
  • White Lightning
  • Cloud 9
  • Energy 1
  • Magic
  • Peevee
  • MP4
MDPV is a stimulant of the cathinone class which acts as a Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor.

 

Bath salts effects

Users taking MDPV expect effects such as alertness, mental stimulation, increased sociability, euphoria, and sexual arousal, however, the reality is much bleaker. MDPV abuse has a series of catastrophic side effect such as: 

  • Extreme paranoia and agitation

  • Hallucinations

  • Excited delirium

  • Delusions, most commonly delusions of super-human strength and invincibility

  • Aggressive, hostile, and violent behavior

  • Criminal behavior

  • Child endangerment

  • Suicidal tendencies

  • Hypertension

  • Blurred vision

  • Insomnia

  • Fever and vomiting

  • Elevated blood pressure and body temperature

  • Respiratory failure

  • Seizures

  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)

  • Kidney and liver failure

  • Coma

  • Death

For every 5 mg of methylenedioxypyrovalerone ingested the effects can last up to six days and users have reported losing touch with their bodies, claiming to be possessed or to not feel pain, no matter how extreme - such as broken bones. 

For now, little is known about the pharmacology, human or animal toxicity, addiction, overdose potential or the long-term effects of MDPV. The various reports describing violent behavior of users, however, coupled with the devastating cognitive and life-altering effects that have been observed are a good indicator that the Cannibal drug is an evil force to be reckoned with. 

Similarities to the Flakka drug 

Following press coverage of the extreme dangers of the super-charged stimulant, MDPV became illegal in the US in 2011 and Canada in 2012, and with this new legislative action chemists in China (the origin of a multitude of synthetic drugs) were once again cooking up new, legal alternatives. They came up with a closely related chemical compound called alpha-PVP, also known as “flakka" or "gravel" because of its likeness to aquarium gravel. 

MDPV and alpha-PVP generate remarkably similar violent and erratic behavior and both substances have been listed in the drug scheduling of the U.S. DEA, defined as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse…the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.” 

Flakka, chemical name α-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone, is derived from bath salts but has a more powerful effect 

 

Bizzare incidents 

American news agencies first became introduced to bath salts after a terrible incident took place in Florida. Rudy Eugene, a 31-year-old man, came across 65-year-old Ronald Poppo on a sidewalk along Miami's MacArthur Causeway, bludgeoning him and eventually chewing on his face. Police said Poppo lost 75% of his face in the attack. The gruesome attack ended with Eugene being shot dead by police while Poppo underwent extensive reconstructive surgery to recover what was possible of his face, although permanently losing his sight. 

It has initially been speculated that Rudy Eugene was under the effect of bath salts, as his erratic and extremely violent, almost cannibalistic behavior was consistent with the effects of MDPV abuse. However, after toxicology reports were conducted, it was determined that Eugene had only used cannabis. Nevertheless, according to public opinion, the suspicion of MDPV abuse still hovers above this case due to the extremely violent and strange nature of the attack. 

Another reported case where the Cannibal drug was involved happened in Majora, Spain in 2014 when a British tourist started chasing and biting tourists on the beach. The 28-year-old man was eventually subdued by ten police officers and finally confessed that he had taken a cocktail of drugs, including bath salts. 

The incidents did not stop here, and in 2018, another violent fight took place, in the Spanish capital this time, when a man and a woman severely injured each other after consuming bath salts. Police reports indicate the two individuals presented conclusions, face lacerations, and bite marks. 

Not limited to the European continent, the Cannibal drug had devastating effects in Canada as well, where police officers "sustained several broken bones in the face, nose, hand, and wrist,” after the arrest of a naked man slamming his face into a fence in Calgary, Toronto.

Needless to say, bath salts are no longer an isolated issue but a worldwide endemic. 

MDPV and police controversy 

With the rise of so many violent crimes attributed to these harrowing drugs, media and police alike have published articles and reports aimed at informing the public about the effects and consequences of using bath salts or flakka.

Some details regarding the effects of MDPV and flakka, however, have sparked controversy - namely because of the "excited delirium" term used to describe a person's violent state. There have been voices claiming that police brutality is at play and that ED is simply a made-up term invented by law enforcement to justify killing someone. 

On the other hand, some medical specialists advocate for the legitimacy of this medical condition, such as Deborah Mash, a professor of neurology at the University of Miami, who describes the symptoms of the condition as: "Someone who's disproportionately large, extremely agitated, threatening violence, talking incoherently, tearing off clothes, and it takes four or five officers to get the attention of that individual and bring him out of harm's way — that's excited delirium."

American Civil Liberties Union attorney, Eric Balaban, said on the matter, “I know of no reputable medical organization—certainly not the American Medical Association or the American Psychiatric Association—that recognizes excited delirium as a medical or mental-health condition.”

The rebuttal was quick to come from Dr. Vincent Di Maio, who has written a textbook on ED, and challenged the claim that people are dying at the hands of police officers. "Civil liberties groups are wrong in blaming officers for ED deaths," he said. “They buy into this mode that if somebody dies, somebody’s got to be responsible. And of course, it can’t be the person who’s high on coke and meth,” even though drug abuse appears to be closely associated with many ED episodes."

As is the case with many synthetic drugs, specialists on all ends are trying to understand their effects which often leads to a difference of opinion and controversial statements. The ultimate goal, however, is to have better training programmes that prepare police officers, MDs, and the general public to deal with the violent aftermath of bath salts abuse. 

Demystifying the cannibalistic aspect of MDPV 

While forensic routine cases have revealed that psychotic and aggressive behavior increases in relation to MDPV plasma concentration, there is no direct link to any cannibalistic behavior per se. Many factors must be taken into account, ranging from the person's initial mental state, any record of mental illness and social context, as well as prior drug abuse. The effects of the Cannibal drug, and its role as a catalyst in extreme violence, however, cannot be overlooked.

No given drug will turn someone into a "cannibal" or a "zombie", however, bath salts users often resort to biting, which has lead many to believe that cannibalism is implied when taking MDPV. 

On the other hand, modern history has seen violent incidents involving biting where drug use was reportedly not involved. The now infamous Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield boxing match from 1997 is known worldwide due to Tyson biting off Holyfield's ear. 

Lastly, an interesting and little-publicized fact is that bath salts are not connected to the highest number of violent crimes or deaths. This position is occupied by a completely legal product (read drug) known as alcohol. 

Check out the original article: Droga caníbal: qué es y qué efectos tiene at caracterurbano.com 

References: 

Black Bear Rehab (2018), WHAT IS MDPV (METHYLENEDIOXYPYROVALERONE)? https://blackbearrehab.com/blog/what-is-mdpv-methylenedioxypyrovalerone/

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