By Jeff Small
St. Louis (KSDK) - Gruesome doesn't begin to describe this story that has everyone talking and cringing.
It's the story out of Miami where a naked man was killed while chewing on another man's face.
Police believe the man being called a cannibal was high on bath salts, the same kind of drug found in the St. Louis area.
Bath salts have been in our area for a few years now and efforts have been made to get rid of them and make them illegal.
The problem is the traffickers are staying one step ahead of police.
It only takes one hit of a popular drug that's hooked users of all ages. Toxicologists say bath salts with certain chemicals can lead to violent outbursts and suicide.
"What we are concerned about is that people have underlying psychological issues that these drugs may reveal so that's always a possibility, said Dr. Anthony Scalzo, the Director of Toxicology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
Dr. Scalzo says bath salts are often used on binges, and that's when a parent may notice something different in their child.
"Peoples change in appetite, weight loss from the chronic use of these components. Paranoia and constantly worrying about something out there and also maybe agitated type behavior and they can't keep calm," said Dr. Scalzo.
According to the DEA in St. Louis, it's a constant challenge to get rid of the source of bath salts, as well as the distributors.
'We are sort of chasing these manufacturers. They know they can't sell coke and can't sell meth so they buy these chemicals that are closely related and they tweak the molecule a little bit and anytime we control a substance they tweak it a bit," said DEA spokesperson Scott Collier.
The base chemicals are coming from overseas while many of the labs are right here in the area.
"They take these chemicals and in the case of the stimulants, they just repackage them into small baggies or lip gloss containers," said Collier.
Bath salts can cause rapid heart rate, hallucinations and overheating of the body which is why toxicologists say many users take off their clothes.