So far this year, 273 calls regarding bath salts have been logged by the Upstate Poison Control Center. In 2011, the organization fielded 118 calls regarding the drug.
Hayes said he believes the drug should be ruled as a controlled substance, and police officers should arrest the perpetrators for felony possession anytime they respond to an incident where a subject is high on bath salts. The violent behavior, paranoia and hallucinations that users experience put both officers and civilians at risk.
On June 12, a Munnsville woman, reportedly naked and high on bath salts, assaulted her three-year-old and family dog before State Police were called to the scene. The woman was unfazed by pepper spray, and was only able to be handcuffed after a trooper deployed his taser. After being taken into custody, the woman suffered a heart attack and later died at Oneida Healthcare.
On July 6 in DeRuyter, Madison County Deputies arrested 34-year-old Nicole K. Campbell who, according to police, was believed to have been under the influence of bath salts. She was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, resisting arrest, reckless endangerment and obstructing governmental administration — all misdemeanors — after she brandished a knife and threw it toward officers who were responding to a trespassing complaint.
On July 10, the Madison County Board of Supervisors called on Governor Andrew Cuomo and state Legislature to pass “meaningful and effective legislation” against the sale and use of bath salts. On July 20, a panel of medical experts, law enforcement personnel and emergency service providers will discuss the growing problem with the drug, in hopes of developing a plan of action to suppress its use. The forum will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in the Commons Room at Rural Metro in Syracuse.
To report knowledge of local bath salt use or suspicious behavior, contact the Cazenovia Police Department at 655-3276. Reports can also be logged with the Madison County Communications Center, at 366-2311. In the event on an emergency, residents are urged to call 911.
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.