Local county proposes ban on bath salts
The use of synthetic drugs has been spreading rapidly throughout the country and New York is experiencing it firsthand. The first half of 2012 saw more emergency room visits as a result of bath salts than in all of 2011. While not severely affected, one county is already on the offensive. Innae Park reports.
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TROY, N.Y. – “It's unsettling and bizarre,” said Rensselaer County legislator Hank Bauer.
He’s referring to bath salts and the surge of their misuse that has been noted across the country and especially in New York State.
Now a Capital Region county is taking matters into its own hands.
Bauer said, “We're trying to stay ahead of the curve, be proactive and cover not only the chemicals that are being mixed and misused now, but in the future.”
Tuesday night, the Rensselaer County Legislature moved forward a local law that would regulate the sale of the synthetic drug. It now heads to committee. However, as far as abuse in their area, there hasn't been much. So why the bill?
Legislator Harry Tutunjian replied, “Oftentimes, government is reactive and this time, we're trying to be proactive before it happens here.”
“We're looking to heighten the awareness of the public and everyone involved,” said Bauer.
It's a message that is spreading quickly.
Tutunjian said, “We proposed this first in the county before the state created a law of their own, so we urged the state to act and they have acted.”
Just last week, Governor Cuomo announced the State Department of Health expanded its list of prohibited drugs and chemicals to include those that make up synthetic drugs in an effort to further crack down on bath salts use.
As for this local law, it will be dropped if an official state law is passed, but until then, it's on track to be adopted in September. A public hearing will be announced in the next two to three weeks.
For more information on synthetic drug abuse, visit www.health.ny.gov.