Psychotic behavior a possibility with some synthetic drugs
It is perhaps the most disturbing story to come out in recent months – a drugged out maniac stripping naked and then eating off the face of a homeless man on a Miami causeway. One researcher warns that the attacker’s psychotic rage may not be as random as generally thought.
“Absolutely bizarre, if not demonic behavior,” Dr. Deborah Marsh, founder and director of the University of Miami Brain Endowment Bank, told CBS4 News. She says the symptoms the attacker displayed are indicative of ones experienced by people who have gotten high off synthetic drugs, many of which are imported from and manufactured in countries like Pakistan and China.
“These designer drugs are now flooding the streets of America and are causing abnormal behaviors states, a psychiatric syndrome unlike anything we have ever witnessed before,” she says. “There’s an actual dysfunction in the way that the brain processes the neurotransmitter dopamine. And what happens is we believe that with continued use you have an individual who is vulnerable to a condition of excited delirium. But because they are exposed to a toxicant … they ratchet up the neurochemical continuum to the point that there is a break. And in that case, they become agitated, paranoid, actually look psychotic, they may grunt or growl. Sometimes they disrobe. They take their clothes off.”
The bizarre attack called to mind stories about zombies, which have their roots in Haitian lore as an animated corpse brought back to life by mystical means, such as magic. The zombie came into popular culture on a grand scale with the 1968 George Romero horror film, Night of the Living Dead, and continues to gain popularity as scary entertainment. These modern zombies are generally not reanimated through magic, but as a result of some terrible virus or pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even played off the popularity of zombies. It created a stir with a campaign called Zombie Preparedness, which features a special website and custom created graphic novel that promotes disaster preparedness.
While this is probably one of the most disturbing stories about dangerous unregulated drugs in recent memory, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has seen its share of leery drugs cross into the United States from foreign countries on the Internet. Just this week, the FDA issued a warning about counterfeit version of the ADHD and narcolepsy drug Adderall making its way into the United States through Internet sources.
This week, Congress granted the FDA more power to oversee drugs manufactured overseas before they enter the US market. For more than 70 years, the FDA has centered its focus on U.S. drug companies, but more and more drugs are being manufactured on foreign soil.
Today, an estimated 80 percent of the ingredients used in U.S. drugs are made overseas. The new legislation will allow the FDA to focus on the most problematic sites no matter where in the world they are located. The bill also increases the penalty for drug counterfeiting from up to 3 years in prison to up to 20 years in prison.
Image courtesy CDC Zombie Preparedness campaign.
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