HOUSTON A Galveston County father says bath salts led to his son s death in October of 2010, and now he s warning others about the dangers of the substance as it's being blamed on a recent cannibalistic attack in Florida.
Joey Baldwin, 31, of Santa Fe, killed himself and blamed a synthetic substance called bath salts in his suicide note. He was found by his father after experimenting with the so-called designer drug, which has been compared to cocaine.
It s poison and it will kill you, said James Baldwin at his home in Santa Fe. He was just paranoid; he was seeing things, hallucinating.
Bath salts, which have been banned by the Drug Enforcement Administration, are suspected to be behind the May 26 face-eating attack of a homeless man in Miami. Since that story broke, reports of cannibalism have surfaced, which has led to rumors of a zombie apocalypse. The term zombie apocalypse is one of the most-searched on Google.
We are certainly not headed for that, said Houston VA Medical Center psychiatrist Dr. Chris Tokunaga. Any time you get any sort of cannibalistic behavior, you re going to get people who are going to talk about all kinds of horror-movie film scenarios.
The bath salts are a stimulant and said to create an excited delirium.
Paranoid, hallucinations, imaging things that aren t real, said Tokunaga. They can produce a psychotic episode in someone who has no history of mental illness at all.
That s what James Baldwin said happened to his son, Joey.
He said the FBI was chasing him for child pornography, James Baldwin recalled. He tore his computer apart. He ruined his hard drive and he sees them all over the place. He sees them across the street in a ditch. He sees them in pictures. He says the FBI is coming to get him and they re going to put him in prison forever.
James Baldwin pays no attention to the hysteria over a zombie apocalypse and urges people to take a look at the real problem, which he says are bath salts.
My Joey was a good boy, he was a good boy, James Baldwin said as tears fell down his face. Get high on something else, get high on God, anything.
According to Tokunaga, the adverse reaction to the drug will not be extreme in all individuals, but the risks are too great to take.
The drug can lead to strokes, heart problems and --in some cases --death.