Bath salts, the synthetic designer drugs commonly found in smoke shops and some gas stations, have been receiving much attention from legislators and law enforcement lately, but also from local residents.
Cazenovia Chief of Police Michael Hayes reports that the department has recently dealt with a number of bath salt-related incidents, with users ranging in age from 18 to 60. While this issue seemed prevalent in other Madison County communities, Hayes warns that it is also in Cazenovia, and asks that residents report any suspicious occurrences immediately.
“This is PCP on steroids. It is a highly addictive substance. If you’re dealing with anyone on bath salts, report it immediately. These people are dangerous,” Hayes said. “We’ve had an ongoing domestic incident here in the village that resulted in a few arrests, and we’ve got some investigative leads [for other users in the village] right now. I want people to know that it’s not a bother to call us, that’s what we’re for. I’d rather respond to call and find out it’s nothing - at least be made aware of it - than find out three days later that people saw someone acting strange.”
Bath salts, which have nothing to do with hygiene or relaxation, were banned throughout New York state last summer, but have been repeatedly showing up in retail stores. The substance is disguised as glass cleaner, potpourri and plant food, with colorful images and “not for human consumption” often found on labels. On Tuesday, July 10 State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed 12 civil lawsuits against 16 shops across the state, including one in Syracuse, for selling the synthetic drugs.
“As soon as the [psychoactive] ingredients are banned, producers change the chemical configurations in the substances, and then new, legal products are released. These drugs will bring users’ internal core temperatures anywhere from 104 to 120 degrees. These are very powerful amphetamines,” Hayes said. “For some reason, [Madison County] seems to be the epicenter of New York state for bath salt incidents – and that’s just what’s being reported. We have to do something.”