By now it seems we can assume that everyone has heard the story of Rudy Eugene, the Florida man who was shot and killed by police when he wouldn’t stop chewing the face off of another man. Initial reports suggested that he may have been using bath salts, which is often described as having the effects of a mix of PCP and meth. The autopsy report, however, found only one drug – small amounts of marijuana.
For many, the use of marijuana and this heinous attack are obviously unrelated; marijuana has never caused violence like alcohol or other drugs can. Unfortunately for our cause, though, the media saw it as a story and has since been writing headlines such as “No bath salts detected: Causeway attacker Rudy Eugene had only pot in his system, medical examiner reports” (Miami Herald), ”Rudy Eugene: No Bath Salts, Only Marijuana Found In Face-Eater Toxicology Tests” (Huffington Post), and ”Tests in cannibalism case: Zombie-like attacker used pot, not ‘bath salts’” (CNN).
Articles arguing that marijuana did not cause this attack are unfortunately less exciting and newsworthy, gaining much less attention. LiveScience quoted Dr. Bruce Goldberger, professor and director of toxicology at the University of Florida:
“Some people have said, ‘Well, it must have been the marijuana that triggered Eugene’s behavior.’ That, in my opinion, is outrageous, and out of the question. Marijuana will not cause this type of behavior…Some media is reporting that pot isn’t ruled out [as the cause of the attack]. I don’t buy that. That’s like talking about, ‘If you take LSD, it stays in your body for a lifetime.’ It’s one of these misleading things you hear about drugs.”
Meanwhile, the Associated Press interviewed Dr. Patricia Junquera, assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She is quoted saying,”It could have been the strain of marijuana that increases the dopamine in the brain, such as sativa.”
NORML comments on this “return of reefer madness in the media” by writing letters to Dr. Junquera, alerting her of the negative impact she has made. Check out the full story here.