Did Bible Study and Anti-Drug Vow Cause Miami Cannibal Attack?

Posted: June 4th, 2012 | Filed under: bath salts, cocaine, drugs, hallucinogens, LSD, marijuana, media bias | 5 Comments »

Causeway Cannibal

(For more information on bath salts read “Doctor Tried Bath Salts and Liked It: In Defense of Bath Salts,” or learn about the “Legal Drug Linked to More Cannibalism than Bath Salts.”)

On May 26, 2012, a naked Rudy Eugene ate the face of Ronald Poppo by a Miami causeway. Despite there being no evidence of drug use, yellow journalism used the specious speculation of Miami’s police union president to launch an avalanche of errant drug bashing.

The truth is that drug abuse/dependence is not a statistically significant predictor of violence, nor is severe mental illness. (Eugene was young, male, and had a history of violence – the top three predictors.) Drug use and severe mental illness are only significantly problematic when coupled with violent tendencies. (2,5)

Eugene clearly had anger and violence issues. In 2004 he became the first person to be Tased in North Miami Beach when he went on a destructive rampage in his mother’s home. He shoved her, broke a table, smashed items, and told her, “I’ll put a gun to your head and kill you.” When the police arrived he threatened them as well. (3)

Contrary to media presentations, it appears Eugene did not take bath salts, LSD, or cocaine. According to his girlfriend he frequently used marijuana but refused all other drugs. He even avoided medication for minor ailments like headaches.

Two days before the attack Eugene and two friends had a Bible study where they discussed how to become better men according to the word of God. Eugene vowed to give up marijuana. It is more likely that this vow – not bath salts – precipitated the attack.

A 1985 Kent State study found that administrating a moderate to heavy amount of marijuana promotes non-aggression. (4) Although understudied, marijuana’s pacifying effects are obvious to users. A 2007 Danish study of over a hundred marijuana smokers in dependence treatment found that more of them used marijuana to relax (86%) than to get “high” (82%), and nearly half of them smoked marijuana to decrease aggression. (1)

It is highly probable that a more relaxed and less aggressive Eugene would have behaved differently on that causeway.

Note: If toxicology reports come back positive for marijuana it does not mean that Eugene was partaking. Heavy marijuana users can test positive for marijuana for up to a month after their last use.

Tip of the Hat

I salute the following journalists for writing articles criticizing the fallacious and narcophobic coverage of the Causeway Cannibal:

1. Kristen Gwynne, “Dumb and Dangerous Anti-Drug Propaganda in the Miami Zombie Story,” AlterNet.org. 31 May 2012. LINK
2. Jacob Sullum, “If You Use Drugs, You Might End Up Eating Someone’s Face,” Reason.com, 29 May 2012. LINK
3. Maia Szalavitz, “Why Drugs Are Getting a Bum Rap in the Miami Face-Eating Attack,” Time.com, 30 May 2012. LINK

Addendum (June 28, 2012) – The full toxicology report of Rudy Eugene released on June 27, 2012 reported that the only drug found in his body was marijuana. The common chemicals in drugs sold as bath salts were absent. LINK


1. Mikkel Arendt, et al., “Testing the Self-Medication Hypothesis of Depression and Aggression ….,” Psychol. Med., 2007, 37.
2. Eric Elbogen & Sally Johnson, “Intricate Link Between Violence and Mental Disorder,” Arch. Gen. Psychiatry, Feb. 2009.
3. Gus Garcia-Roberts, “Rudy Eugene to Mother in 2004 ….,” MiamiNewTimes.com, 30 May 2012.
4. Rodney Myerscough & Stuart Taylor, “Effects of Marijuana on Human Physical Aggression,” J. Pers. Soc. Psychol., 1985, 49(6).
5. Rick Nauert, “Mental Illness Does Not Predict Violence,” PsychCentral.com, 26 Feb. 2009.

5 Comments on “Did Bible Study and Anti-Drug Vow Cause Miami Cannibal Attack?”

  1. 1 Miami Cannibal Rudy Eugene – the Pothead Bible Study Cannibalism Story | Intellectual Conversation – a lifelong memetic transfusion said at 2:53 pm on June 6th, 2012:

    […] to find this cartoon by the author of my favorite book “You Will Die” explaining why the Miami Cannibal didn’t start eating face because of LSD, Bath Salts or Cocaine: Eat shrink wrapped dead mammals from the store, not fresh ones on the […]

  2. 2 Quora said at 5:49 pm on June 8th, 2012:

    Besides cannibalism, what are all the crazy things people taking bath salts have done?…

    Both stories of people eating faces that people “suspect” might have been balt salts have absolutely no actual evidence that either had actually taken bath salts. It is known as “propaganda.” Here is an article that explores this subject and cites …

  3. 3 Cathinones: Please, Don't Call Them Bath Salts - Alt Variety said at 9:01 am on June 22nd, 2012:

    […] debunk the case of the Florida cannibal because the always informative Narco Polo already laid outsomeobviousfallacies. Most importantly, as Dr. John Kelly points out (author of this excellent review […]

  4. 4 There Is No Miami Zombie Apocalypse, Just Mentally Ill People With No Safety Net | Technoccult said at 2:44 pm on July 2nd, 2012:

    […] Rob Arthur notes that both mental illness and drug abuse are lower predictors for violence many other factors. […]

  5. 5 Sobriety and Control | Neal Sandin said at 2:09 pm on November 5th, 2013:

    […] “bath salts” – however none was found in his system.  One argument was that his decision to no longer smoke marijuana might have triggered the attack.  Sobriety is a security blanket, helpful at times but is […]