Bath Salts A Growing Problem, Experts Say
Police and substance abuse experts say the synthetic drug called bath salts is a health hazard and can cause paranoia, hallucinations and, in some cases, violent behavior.
Police responded early Thursday morning to a 911 call in Brownville.
The caller, 28 year old Matthew Towles, told 911 that he had been shot through his front door. But when police arrived, the man was fine.
Towles told police he was using a white, powdery substance called bath salts.
The drug is receiving more and more attention because of incidents like one this week in Florida, where a man threatened to eat a police officer.
Experts say bath salts have the effects of methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy all rolled into one.
"The individual is experiencing extreme paranoia, in some instances extreme violence, is unable to come down from the high," said Anita Seefried-Brown of Jefferson County's Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council.
The substance is sold in stores. A 2011 law made the sale and possession of bath salts illegal in New York, but the nature of designer drugs makes them hard to regulate.
Once one set of chemical compounds is banned, the formula is changed so the substance is no longer illegal,
"They're trying to change compounds, because when you put the law on the books you talk about things that you're dealing with relative to chemicals," said state Sen. Joe Griffo.
Towles was only charged with falsely reporting an incident.
The Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council is working with Jefferson County lawmakers to give police the power to ticket individuals selling and possessing bath salts.
"What we are working on now is to get a local ordinance that will bridge between now and the passing of the law," Seefried-Brown said.
State lawmakers are working on a new law, but they're running out of time.
There are only eight days left in the current legislative session.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013, Watertown, NY
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