It has been said by drug prevention officials and law enforcement, as well, the problem of bath salts and synthetic marijuana continues to be an issue throughout the region. As our Bill Mich tells us, Trinity of Chemung County took steps Wednesday to ensure various local organizations know what they are dealing with in these designer drugs.
ELMIRA, N.Y. -- The continuing struggles against bath salts and synthetic drugs remains an ongoing issue in many locations throughout the region.
"We've had individuals attempt to hurt themselves. We've had an increase in suicidal rates. We've had individuals increase in violence and even more violence towards the other inmates or to the staff," said Rebecca Spencer, a registered nurse at the Chemung County Jail.
But while these drugs continue to grow in popularity, their effects, both long term and short term, remain unknown.
"It's something that we are finding there is not enough information about, so it makes it more difficult than our textbook learning of nursing and how to deal with alcoholics and some of the drugs that are out there. So it's a learning process as to how to take care of them," said Ann Daniels, the county jail nurse administrator.
Wednesday, Trinity of Chemung County did what it could to speed up that learning process. The organization held a synthetic drug training seminar for representatives from local organizations, like the Chemung County Jail and Planned Parenthood. The message was about the little knowledge out there about these drugs, including their ingredients and side effects on those who use them.
"It is really important to get this knowledge out there that people really don't know what they're getting and you're playing Russian roulette when you're dealing with these drugs. And it is just very, very dangerous and when people are using them, they're experiencing the adverse side effects of them rather than what the initially used them for," said Christie Speciale, the Trinity of Chemung County Prevention Director.
Putting a stop to these drugs may be impossible so understanding how to deal with them is the next best thing.