Bath salt community forum to be held Aug. 21 in Oneida

— A panel of experts will discuss the growing issue with the synthetic drugs known as “bath salts,” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, in the Oneida High School Auditorium, located at 560 Seneca Street in Oneida.

The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend. Speakers will include: Dr. Janet McMahon, DO, Oneida Health Care, ED Attending Physician; Allen Riley, Madison County Sheriff; Dr. James Yonai, Madison County Mental Health Director; William Gabor, Madison County District Attorney; Dr. Alexander Garrard, Upstate Poison Control Clinical Toxicologist; and Susan Jenkins, BRiDGES-MCCASA Executive Director. The panel moderator will be Mike Healy, Oneida Health Care Community Relations Director.

Cazenovia Police Chief Mike Hayes encourages community to attend. “Bath salt usage is an epidemic in our area. The fact that these drugs are like PCP on steroids is a very real description. People whom use these drugs are unpredictable and highly dangerous to EMS, Firefighters and Police along with the general public,” he said. “Without public support and new laws to combat this dangerous issue more and more local resources will be taxed. This is part of the reason that I, along with other law enforcement executives attend the Madison County Promise Collation meetings to further education and find answers to deal with this issue and other abusive substance issues.”

Cazenovia High School Principal Eric Schnabl said he hopes to see a large turnout, as the forum will benefit all families in the region. “The bath salts issue is certainly a concern for all Central New York communities,” he said. “I applaud the Drug Free Task Force for providing this forum to educate the public on the health risks of using bath salts and providing information on how to help prevent these drugs from causing any further damage in our communities. I strongly encourage parents to attend, ask questions, and share the information for the benefit of all families in the region.”

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