Bath salts: Police training seminar attempts to deal with latest threat

NORWICH – Following the continued rise of incidents involving “bath salts” – the latest designer drug epidemic to make headlines across the nation – the Norwich City Police Department on Thursday held a two-hour training seminar on the issue, one law enforcement officials are calling an emerging problem in the upstate area.

According to Norwich Police Chief Joseph Angelino, it’s entirely possible that local police agencies and emergency responders have already dealt with cases involving the dangerous synthetic drug. Said Technical Sergeant with the New York State Police Doug Paquette, “This is a huge, huge problem ... we have to take matters into our own hands.”

Added Sidney Police Officer Jan Gorshack, the department’s drug recognition expert, “It’s gong to be this never-ending battle ... it’s a chemical potpourri.”

The synthetic designer drug is often confused with traditional, cosmetic bath salts, said both Paquette and Gorshack, and as fast as legislators pass bans on the substance, its manufacturers are changing its make-up on the molecular level, making it extremely difficult to regulate or even test for. And while the drug is currently regulated under federal law, it is not governed under state law. At this point, it’s not illegal to possess bath salts, and it’s not illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of the drug. Similar in chemical structure to other psychedelic amphetamines such as MDMA – or Ecstasy – bath salts typically contain Methylenedi oxypyrovalerone, or MDPV, Mephedrone or Cathinone. According to the DEA, “the subjective effects induced ... are feelings of empathy, stimulation, alertness, euphoria and awareness of senses.”

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