The use of synthetic drugs like bath salts became a growing health and law enforcement problem in upstate New York this summer. Wednesday, the public had a chance to learn more about this latest trend in drug abuse at a forum in Utica.
This summer, the synthetic drugs known as bath salts alarmed emergency responders all over upstate New York, including in Jefferson County. In Watertown, they dealt with unstable, violent users several times a day. But lawmakers and law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels have been responding with crackdowns on the drugs. Now, both police and hospital officials in Watertown say cases are down sharply.
While local governments, the state of New York, and the federal government continue to work to make the sale and possession of designer drugs like bath salts illegal, there's one politician who says this is the wrong way to deal with the crisis. The 24th congressional district Green Party candidate predicts the moves will all backfire.
The New York State Department of Health regulations outlawing bath salts in New York state come on the heels of several local laws banning the designer drug. The new regulations were announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday, but there could be more laws coming down the road.
The war on bath salts in New York state has some new tools. Newly announced state Department of Health regulations mean tougher penalties and more local involvement in prosecuting those who sell or possess the substances.
Like many other local governments in New York responding to the bizarre behavior of people using the drugs known as “bath salts,” Lewis County is considering a ban on many of the compounds used in synthetic drugs.
The ban would outlaw bath salts and synthetic marijuana, sold under the brand names Spice and K2, among others.
Syracuse is the latest community in New York state that has banned bath salts and other synthetic drugs. Legislators are taking a two-pronged approach to fight the substances, that can cause violent and unpredictable behavior among abusers.