ROME, N.Y. -- Synthetic or designer drugs are an increasingly alarming problem for school officials in Rome, where they continue to find the drugs at schools.
The Rome Daily Sentinel reported last week that 16 students at Rome Free Academy have been suspended this school year for using, having or selling the drugs. The most common are legal synthetic marijuana and bath salts that act like amphetamines when ingested.
Superintendent Jeffrey Simons called it an epidemic in a letter to parents last week, warning them of the health risks associated with the drugs.
Doctors say they have a seen everything from confusion to heart attacks associated with the drugs. But they have trouble treating them because often the products aren't clear about their ingredients.
“You just treat the symptoms because you don't know, 'what did they take exactly?' You can call poison control but you have a limited help since you don't know exactly what they have taken,” said Dr. Jayest Sampat.
The drugs are obtained legally because they are labeled 'not for human consumption.'
Rome Police will be at Rome Memorial Hospital hosting an informational session on the drugs on Wednesday at 7 p.m.