Letter to the Editor: Getting clean w/out bath salts

The following is a letter to the editor from Meghan V. Guerra, Project Coordinator of Schuyler County Commission on Underage Drinking and Drugs on the bath salt problem threatening local youths.Dear Editor,I recently turned 30, and I didn’t realize I was getting old until I overheard a teen’s conversation on bath salts. I’m thinking, “I like lavender, it’s incredibly relaxing”. To my surprise, I didn’t hear about candles or bubbles, I heard about a friend who was taken to the emergency room due to extreme chest pain and hallucinations. As a former elementary school teacher from an urban area (Philadelphia to be exact), I recently relocated to this region of New York to start a new life with my fiancé. Hearing this conversation was something I would expect to hear in Philadelphia, not the Finger Lakes. After doing research, I learned bath salts (with names like “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” Vanilla Sky,” and “Bliss”) are banned due to a federal law signed by President Obama in July. However, with loopholes that the ‘mad scientists’ have created with labeling; like “Not Consumable”, these drugs are available in many convenience stores and online for purchase. These ‘bath salts’ are created for human consumption, but not labeled accordingly. This new trend of ‘designer drugs’ – like synthetic marijuana, have intense effects like psychosis, violent behavior, self mutilation, paranoia, and suicide. Although the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has made it illegal to sell or possess any of the main chemicals commonly found in bath salts (i.e. mephedrone, MDPV, and methylone) – citing them an: “imminent threat to public safety”, scientists can slightly alter the chemicals to allow them to be purchased. As a new neighbor, I felt it imperative to share my story, my fear, and my willingness to do more to help end this unfortunate drug trend that is robbing our youth of a ‘clean’ and carefree upbringing. I wanted to inform the many parents and guardians, teachers, and community members to be aware and be proactive. Additional information can be located at http://www.oasas.ny.gov/publications/index.cfm. If bath salts or synthetic marijuana are consumed, you may call the Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222. Also the Synthetic Drug Hotline, which may be used to report the manufacturing, distribution, sale and possession of synthetic drugs: 1-888-997-SALTS (2587). Respectfully,Meghan V. GuerraProject CoordinatorSchuyler County Commission on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD)607-535-8140

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