After Rudy Eugene 'zombie-like Causeway Cannibal' attack, Miami bath salts ban gets preliminary OK

MIAMI, Fla. -- Miami-Dade commissioners gave the preliminary OK Tuesday to banning sales of bath salts, the synthetic drug that experts say can make users violent, reports the Miami Herald.

Earlier this month, the Miami Herald reports the same board gave approval to banning sales of synthetic marijuana.

On the street, bath salts are touted as fake cocaine, a potent hallucinogen not to be confused with synthetic marijuana.

Both are designer drugs, but fake pot is sold as herbal incense and promises — but does not always deliver — a marijuana-like high.

It's easy to tell the safe stuff from the bad stuff — by the price.

A 6-pound bag of Epsom salts sells for $5 at the grocery store. Bath salts that get you high sell for $40 a gram.

They are snorted, swallowed and sometimes smoked.

"It is very much like cocaine," said Dr. Morton Levitt, a pathologist and chairman of the Integrated Medical Science Department at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. "It creates a state of euphoria."

Users can also experience extreme paranoia, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, extremely high body temperature, sleep deprivation, vivid hallucinations, enhanced strength, hostility and aggression.

"[They] can hear voices, become paranoid," said Dr. Randy Katz, medical director of emergency services for Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood. "They can endure pain that a typical person couldn't handle. It can make them stronger."

Bath salts became a headline issue after officers speculated that the drug may have fueled last month's attack on the Miami MacArthur Causeway, in which Rudy Eugene chewed off parts of a homeless man named Ronald Poppo. Toxicology results in the case have not yet been released, according to the Miami Herald .

WPTV Web Team contributed to this report.