Stories about bath salt users have made headlines across the country in recent weeks and the drug has become a particular problem in one Northern Pennsylvania county. Our Bill Mich spoke with the Bradford County Coroner who says he has already seen more drug related deaths six months into 2012 than he did all of last year.
TROY, Pa. -- The Bradford County Coroner says there have been 17 drug related deaths so far this year, with users abusing everything from prescription drugs to cocaine. But the rise in bath salts related deaths is something officials are describing as a huge problem.
"We've had four deaths that have revolved around MDPV in comparison to last year where we had one death for the entire year," said Bradford County Coroner Thomas Carman.
In fact, there is a possible fifth bath salts death pending the results of a toxicology exam. The drug has been known for producing hallucinations, extreme paranoia, causing irrational and violent behavior and even producing suicidal tendencies. Authorities can only guess as to why people would even try bath salts.
"A lot of it has to do with peer pressure and in search of a high. I don't think people understand addiction very well," said James Cook, the operations manager for Western Alliance Emergency Services.
And the coroner says that if something isn't done about the growing drug problem in the county, more and more people will end up on cold metal tables like this one.
"People need to be responsible. Family members need to be responsible. Who better to recognize changes in behavior patterns than family and friends," Carman said.
But even with that increased accountability, you can never totally get rid of the drug problem.
"Some of my patients have told me that it's hard to get out of the circle of availability. That they can find it anywhere," said Cook.
The ultimate message from county officials was for people addicted to these drugs to seek help. Surpassing the county's drug-related death total from 2011 only six months into the year is a frightening trend that cannot be ignored.