Batavia Residents Rally Against Bath Salt Use
Some Batavia residents rallied this weekend to call attention to the dangers of a synthetic drug known as "Bath Salts". YNN's Kevin Jolly talked with organizers about the drug and how they hope to get their message out to young people.
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BATAVIA, N.Y. – A crowd gathered around an old van with a sledge hammer in Batavia Saturday, smashing in the vehicle’s windows. The message behind the rally : "Let’s Beat Bath Salts".
"’Bath salts’ is a generic term that they applied to it to be able to sell it,” said rally organizer Eric Betz. “It's not like what you buy at WalMart. Not the bath salts you put in to smell pretty. It is one of the most vile drugs I have ever heard of. It's crack and methamphetamine together and it makes people go psychotic.”
Betz and his friend Eric Weis decided to hold the rally to call attention to the dangers of bath salts after seeing how the drug was affecting so many people in the community.
"It's terrible. I know at this point 15 people who've lost their lives, lost their kids, lost their businesses, everything," said Betz.
"It's a bad growing problem,” said Weis. “A lot of people, a lot of close friends of mine, I watched them go from normal to bad real quick. It's a sad, sad thing in Batavia, and with the head shop selling it just became an immediate problem everywhere.”
Earlier this week, federal state and local police raided head shops across the country such as 420 Emporium in Batavia, confiscating the synthetic drug that was being sold off the shelf. More than 90 people were arrested nationwide.
"We've seen some use within Wyoming County, people using those who may be on drug court or probation, and thinking that the substance is legal per se so they think they can still use that to get that altered state of mind without getting caught or having the positive tox screen and results like that," said Amberley Broughton, Wyoming County Chemical Abuse Treatment.
Dorothy De Roque, an emergency room nurse in Rochester, came out to learn more about the drug.
"I have teenagers at home and I constantly lecture them and their friends about the ill effects of it," said De Roque.
This month, President Obama signed a law banning more than two dozen substances used in synthetic drugs like Bath Salts. Betz thinks that's a good start.
"It's going to be up to the government to keep banning the substances every time they pop up" said Betz.