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Law enforcement and medical calls for 'bath salts' seems to have decreased in Genesee County

The bath salt epidemic in Batavia seems to have subsided over the past couple of weeks.

Law enforcement and health officials across the board report fewer emergency responses that appear related to the use of bath salts by local residents.

Whether the decline in known usage is related to the closure of the 420 store at 400 Ellicott St., Batavia or some other factor is unclear.

In a report prepared yesterday by the Genesee County Health Department, a UMMC nurse manager is quoted as saying there were six bath salt patients admitted to ER in the middle of July. In the two weeks prior to Tuesday, there was one bath salt case in ER.

Michael Merrill, chief medical officer for UMMC, who told The Batavian on July 16 that emergency room cases related to bath salts had become routine, confirmed today that the hospital has seen no new bath salt cases for close to two weeks.

"The easy supplier in town is gone and now the supply is gone," Merrill said.

The drop in synthetic drug-related calls could also be a result of increased awareness by potential users of how dangerous the drugs are, officials said, and the fact that some of the people who seemed to have been involved in bath salts during the height of the seeming barrage of bath salt-related emergencies are now in jail.

"I think the people who wanted to experiment have seen all the negative things that this does and might not want to experiment (now)," Det. Rich Schauf said. "Maybe they had the thought that this might be something to do because it’s legal and then they saw that it's something that’s very harmful, and it got a lot of publicity, it might cause somebody to say, 'I’m not going to harm myself with it.' "

Synthetic drugs have been a growing problem across the nation over the past couple of years and on July 9, the federal government enacted more stringent legal controls on the sale of the substances.

Following the new legislation, the federal Drug Enforcment Administration was lead agency in raids in about 100 cities across the U.S., including Batavia, on establishments suspected of selling synthetic drugs.

Just prior to the raids, The Batavian reported that regionally, communities with emergency responses for suspected synthetic drug incidents were those communities that seemed to have an alleged local supplier of the drugs. Law enforcement officials in areas without an alleged local supplier reported seeing far fewer synthetic drug-related problems.

Users of synthetic drugs tend to display paranoid and agitated behavior, sometimes hallucinating, or they suffer sever medical problems such as high body temperature and seizures, creating both public safety and public health concerns.

Steve Sharpe, director of emergency communications for the Sheriff's Office, said without more data -- and two weeks is too little data -- he thinks it's too soon to say for sure whether usage is down.

He did report, however, that no new calls have been documented in the county outside of the City of Batavia since Aug. 1.

Officer Eric Hill is quoted in the health department report as saying Batavia PD was receiving two or three synthetic drug-related calls per shift, which would mean six to nine calls per day. 

The call volume, Schauf said yesterday, has dropped significantly in recent weeks.

The county health department has received one complaint about the possible sale of bath salts since July 25, when The 420 Emporium was raided. A citizen turned in an empty "Eight Ballz" packet that was allegedly purchased locally on July 26 or 27.

The 420 store remains closed, though its shelves are still stocked with glassware inventory and on the chain's Facebook page for the Brockport location an Oakfield resident asked about the Batavia store and an admin for The 420 Emporium page replied, "No the Batavia store is not open yet."

Joshua Denise, who appears to be the owner (or at least co-owner) of the Batavia store, was arrested during the DEA raid. He is out of federal custody pending further legal proceedings.

Schauf said the Batavia PD continues to remain alert for possible reports of synthetic drug sales in the city and there's no assumption the problems associated with synthetic drugs have passed.

"Somebody who wants to find it will find it," Schauf said. "If there’s a demand, somebody will say, 'there’s a demand' and they’ll try to sell it."

Doug Yeomans
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One thing is certain, the fear of a drug being dangerous has never stopped anyone from taking it, trust me.

Irene Will
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It stopped me, too - - same as Howard, LSD - - - I saw and heard what it did to people, and it scared me away from EVER even TRYING it.

Brian Graziaplena
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I've NEVER used any "illegal" drugs or substances... that's right not even marijuana... [too busy drinking beer]. Simply abiding by the law... legal vs illegal.

But tonight I've decided to try some bath salts. I bought a quart container of Epsom Salts and am going to put them in my bath water and relax, and see what happens.

I'm just concerned though, because I've read well documented medical sites that link drug use and abuse to hair loss, and I definitely don't want to go balding.

Frank Bartholomew
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Doug, just let the junkies hear about lethal heroin being on the street, watch how fast they try and find it.
Negative reports may stop first time users, but any drug abuser could care less about any reports on their drug of choice.
I grew up in an alcoholic household, after seeing first hand the havoc alcohol can make of life, you would think that would have deterred me from ever wanting to try it, not!!!

Doug Yeomans
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Howard, I would say that it may have scared a few people such as yourself, but the vast majority take the drugs anyway, regardless of the risks.

I remember being 15 and having access to everything and anything that was available. Lets just say that one of those substances was known by many names such as window pane, Mr Natural, blotter...etc. I remember it causing uncontrollable fits of laughter and many distinct stages of impairment. There would be long moments of silence, laughter, rolling visuals, wood grain on the floor or paneling appeared to be moving like waves of water, snow flakes during a snowstorm were many colors under the street lights. Kicking the snow in the street made it look like a tidal wave of saturated rainbows that hung in the air for what seemed like hours but was actually only moments..it was very "trippy." (I mean, this is what I've been told by people who took it.....)

Sometimes experiencing something so forbidden can be enlightening, mind opening and sobering, all at the same time. Reflecting upon days gone by and upon experiences I had, it was actually a lot of fun. Am I glad that those days are behind me and do I wish that they might have happened a bit differently? Sure, but we can all say that about a lot of aspects in our life. As long as a person learns from what they've experienced and uses that wisdom to better their self, then it's all good. I have no regrets. They would serve no purpose anyway. Eyes forward, don't face the past too often, live in this moment right now. It's the most important moment of your life.

Some people live life on the edge and that's just how it is. Some people learn from it and grow. Others are consumed by it and destroyed. My life has been an experience where so far, I count my blessings and revel in being alive. Breathing in and out, seeing the sun rise and feeling it on my face, watching thunder storms, feeling love and a warm embrace, that's life, a life worth living. Maybe my questionable experiences have something to do with how I am, maybe they don't. They were what they were. I'm successful and I'm thankful to be here, I'm lucky.

Now, lets go have a bacon bleu burger with greasy fries and a pint of Guinness! Who's with me?!

Mark Brudz
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Actually Doug, I disagree with you, While no doubt most experimented with MJ --- The fear of medical and physical consequence scared off most from harder drugs, I know it did me. I think Howard was more the normal than you think.

Pretty much the only ones I know that say they would try the harder drugs anyway are the ones that tried the harder drugs, a few notable exceptions of course

Doug Yeomans
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Mark, maybe people were just picky at what hard drugs they experimented with. Heroin and the thought of sticking a dirty needle into my arm scared the bejeezuz out of me so I never did it. People who shied away from one drug may have tried another one such as LSD, mushrooms, peyote or cocaine. Lots of people obviously did those drugs or we wouldn't have had the drug barons of the 70's and 80's. So, I think more people did those drugs and disregarded the dangers and that conclusion is supported by the massive, illicit, "hard drug" industry."

Mark Brudz
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I will just say this Doug, 1,000,000 people is .3% (.003) of a population of 311,000,000

Sometimes numbers maybe large, but as a percentage of population are small. Sure lot's of people have tried harder drugs of various kinds, but when you compare it to the total population, it is actually modest. Just look at today's poll on this site, Those who did not because of fear of incident is way at the top.

I doubt that the majority of the population does drugs at all, a large percentage using MJ for sure, but that percentage of known drug use drops dramatically when you look at harder drugs, even in this local case of Bath Salts, it was a very small percentage of the population, but the effects were sensational. It still was (and possibly still is a problem) but it is not the majority of people by any means.

Mark Brudz
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Here you go I took Howard up on the challenge

More than 22 million Americans age 12 and older - nearly 9% of the U.S. population - use illegal drugs, according to the government’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Marijuana was the most commonly used drug, with more than 17 million users in 2010

In 2010, 7 million people used psychotherapeutic drugs (including stimulants, tranquilizers, painkillers and sedatives) for non-medical purposes, and 1.2 million people used hallucinogens, according to the study. The numbers are similar to the past few years.

One and a half million people used cocaine, similar to recent years' study results but a drop of nearly 1 million from 2006. Methamphetamine use dropped by more than half between 2006 and 2010, to only a 10th of 1% of the population, according to the survey.

According to the survey;
Marijuana is the most common drug for first-time users, according to the study. Among people who started using drugs in the year before the survey, 62% said they first used marijuana, 26% first used prescription drugs like tranquilizers and stimulants, and 9% first used inhalants.

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/08/study-22-million-americans-use-...

Pretty much close to what I thought

Frank Bartholomew
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I remember when I was entering middle school, there was quite the propaganda war going on about drugs. You would hear things like," they will force you to use drugs", LSD will make you jump out windows, marijuana is instantly addicting, LSD will cause flashbacks later in life, and on and on.
None of the above ever happened to me, and it has been 40 years since my first psycedelic high.
Mark, was alcohol use in the survey?, it is a hard drug after all, and is illegal in this state to be consumed by those who are under 21.I would be willing to bet those numbers would change drastically if illegal alcohol use was included.

Doug Yeomans
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I didn't say the majority of the population tried hard drugs. Frank, for once I agree with you..lol. I've never suffered any ill effects 35 years later, either. My very early 20's were a bit adventurous and when things got crazy, I simply stopped doing everything, including quitting cigarettes. I knew that if I didn't quit, life would become very difficult, and I wanted more from it. In the mid 80's I watched person after person go through rehab, come out, go back in...etc. The solution for me was simple. "Don't do bad things to yourself anymore." I didn't need anyone to show me the light. Maybe I'm just strong willed (stubborn), but I've always been able to turn the page in the book of life, no matter how good or bad the last chapter was. The story must continue!

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