For a few years, the media have echoed a new type of synthetic drug with devastating effects for those who consume it. The term used is “cannibal drug”, although as we will see below it is only a myth arising from collective paranoia . We analyze in depth what the cannibal drug is and what its effects are.

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Rudy Eugene, the first cannibal
It was in 2012 when the US media began to talk about the cannibal drug, and the trigger was a terrible event that took place in Florida.
Rudy Eugene, a 31-year-old African-American man, bit into the face of a homeless man named Ronald Poppo . After being shot by the police, the young man’s body was transferred to the forensic institute to be analyzed, since the authorities suspected that Eugene was acting under the influence of a powerful drug, perhaps crack or amphetamines. The surprise was capital when they only found traces of marijuana in his body.
As far as doctors knew, marijuana was not capable of causing (by itself) such a level of aggressiveness, not even synthetic marijuana.
On the other hand, the officer who shot Eugene stated that he had to pull the trigger up to six times before he fell to the ground. Those details were more typical of any episode of The Walking Dead or any zombie blockbuster, but the fact is that the drug that Eugene had consumed had little to do with an apocalypse of the living dead.

What is the cannibal drug or MDPV?
According to later reports, it was a new synthetic substance whose scientific name is methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV).
Methylenedioxypyrovalerone or MDPV is a highly stimulating drug that inhibits the uptake of norepinephrine and dopamine.. It was developed in 1969, although it began to be marketed clandestinely years later, around 2004. As we have pointed out, it jumped into the media in 2012 with the Rudy Eugene case.
It takes the form of small crystals, similar to bath salts, which are administered orally .
A WHO report indicates that, in street jargon, it receives the following names : “MDPV”, “MDPK”, “Magic”, “Super coke”, “Peevee”, “New Ivory Wave”, “Kannibaldrogen”, “Apdamm”, “Aakkoset”, “Bath salt”, “MP”, “MP4” and “MP3”.

What effects does it have?
Those who consume it often expect it to act as a nootropic or cognitive enhancer, to increase certain mental functionssuch as intelligence, memory or creativity. However, the consumption of MDVP, misnamed cannibal drug in the case of Florida, also has a series of harmful effects, such as:

  • Tachycardia.
  • Hypertension.
  • Vasoconstriction.
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea.
  • bruxism.
  • Increased body temperature.
  • Shaking chills,
  • sweating
  • Pupil dilation.
  • Headache.
  • Nephritic colic.
  • Acufenos
  • dizziness
  • Hyperstimulation.
  • Dyspnoea.
  • Agitation.
  • Hypertonia.
  • Paranoia.
  • Confusion.
  • Delusions.
  • Anxiety.

For every five milligrams of this substance in the body, the effects can last up to seven days. Another of the dangers of the cannibal drug is that the consumer loses the notion of his own body and does not feel pain as intense as breaking bones.
At the moment, no conclusive studies have been carried out on the long-term effects of this substance in humans, although it is suspected that it can profoundly alter the cognitive functions and quality of life of the individual.

The cannibal drug in Spain
The fact is that this drug has reached European territory through mass tourism. For this reason, one of the first cases to be detected was that of a 28-year-old man in Mallorca. After ingesting a dose of MDPV, he tried to assault several tourists on the beach. Up to eleven agents of the Local Police were necessary to reduce it.
Another case took place in 2018, during Holy Week in Madrid. A 35-year-old woman and two 24-year-old men had to be treated after getting into a fight. All three had bruises and lacerations on their faces, the result of scratches and bites . They had consumed the cannibal drug.

Dismantling the myth of the cannibal drug
Despite all these cases, experts point out that there is no correlation between the use of MDVP and aggressive behavior. In other words,It is not the drug that produces the violent behavior of the individual, but rather the reverse . It all depends on the mental state they presented before, the social context or if they suffered from some kind of mental pathology.
There is no drug that cannibalize people, but the consumption of this substance awakens irrational behavior, enhanced by anxiety and hallucinations . If the consumer already suffered from a mental disorder, things get worse. The inability to feel pain is what makes subjects difficult to reduce (or bring down, as in the case of Rudy Eugene). Therefore, zombies do not exist either.
On the other hand, we must consider that there are episodes of violence with bites and without drugs involved. The clearest example is that of boxing champion Mike Tyson, who in 1997 bit his opponent Evander Holyfield in the ear.
Finally, we leave you with a curious fact. It turns out that MDVP is not the substance most associated with episodes of violence . The first place is taken by a totally legal drug: alcohol.

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