Rudy Eugene, often referred to as the “Miami Zombie,” has taken over the national media after he was found naked eating a man’s face off, which he was subsequently shot and killed for.
Police suspect that new designer drugs known as bath salts are responsible for this bizarre horrific occurrence, but the fact that Eugene has a history of mentally illness more than likely contributed to the incident.
There have been over 1,000 documented cases of people getting high from bath salts, but Eugene is the only person that has displayed cannibalistic tendencies. It’s not even certain that he was on bath salts at the time of the incident, meaning this whole thing could have been prevented.
If the mental health care system in this country placed people’s mental health over corporate profits, Ronald Popo would still have a face.
Eugene showed signs of sociopathic behavior that ideally should’ve landed him in a psychiatric ward, including an incident in 2004 in which he told his mother ”I will put a gun to your head and kill you,” after he tore apart her apartment.
Ideally, that incident alone should have gotten him state mandated therapy, and medication until he was deemed capable of functioning normally in society.
Instead of giving this man the medical treatment that he so desperately needed, they allowed him to further decline into a state of psychosis, which led him to cannibalism.
Even if drugs are the sole cause of his cannibalistic behavior, his undiagnosed medical condition led him to take the drugs that caused it.
Rather than help people who need access to mental health treatment, we wait for their illness to lead them to do something we incarcerate them for.
Things like murder, possession and use of drugs that they use to self medicate for an illness, theft, and other criminal activity that they participate in to procure their medication.
Over half of the prison population in the American prison system has a reported mental illness. That’s over 250,000 people whose crimes could have been prevented if our government would’ve taken advantage of an opportunity to treat the illness that led to their crimes once it was reported.
That’s 250,000 men and woman whose illness will only get worse because of the deplorable conditions of the prison environment, where there is little to no access to mental health services.
That’s not counting the people in jail with a psychological condition that have yet to be diagnosed with one.
The problem is, it’s easier to get into prison and obtain drugs that people use to self medicate than it is to get into mental health and drug rehabilitation programs, and get medicine that would combat their illness. If access to mental health services were made more readily available, the prison population would decrease dramatically.
Considering that we, the “land of the free,” have the largest prison population on the planet, new measures to combat crime are clearly needed to better our society.
The people most negatively affected by mental health issues are the poor. Given that it’s difficult to hold down a job with a mental disorder, it would be safe to assume that most do not have health insurance.
Without health insurance it is unlikely that a person will stay in a mental hospital for more than four weeks. During that inadequate amount of time, barely any therapy is given to the patient.
Instead they are put on medicaton that takes precedence over therapy when there should be a balance of both. Thats not curing their illness, it's putting a band-aid on a bullet wound.
Once those four weeks are up the patient is thrown out into the streets, where his illness and probable drug addiction can lead to behavior like eating a man’s face naked in broad daylight.
There is a large segment of this society who is suffering from deep psychological issues who often get over looked and pushed aside because they are awkward or different.
We forget that there is a reason for everything. Most drug addicts are using those drugs to escape a reality that haunts them on a daily basis, and most murderers were horribly physically abused as children, We don’t care about the drug addict until he does something drastic to get or as a result of the drugs.
We don’t care about the abused child until he grows up and makes front-page news for the wrong reasons. Instead of paying attention to these people when it’s too late to do something about it, we should be using the funds we use to incarcerate these people to treat them before they harm themselves or someone else. That someone could be you or me.
The journey wont be short or easy but nothing that’s worth anything is easy to obtain is. Redistribute the billions of dollars we spend on prisons and allocate them towards drug prevention/rehabilitation and mental health services and I guarantee you we will see a better America than you see before you today in 25 years.