Saugerties led the way on bath-salt ban

Kelly Myers sqI am delighted to report that the governor has signed a statewide law banning drugs known as “bath salts.”

As the town supervisor who wrote legislation and instituted the first local ban in NY State to address the serious problem of synthetic drugs and “bath salts,” I am proud to say we have been at the forefront of this important issue.

Saugerties law enforcement efforts have been very successful in removing bath salts and other synthetic drugs from the counters of local convenience stores. Initially businesses that sold synthetic drugs and bath salts were notified of the law and voluntarily removed the items from their shelves. Periodic enforcement checks revealed two businesses that were not in compliance with the law, and they were issued summons and successfully prosecuted.

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According to emergency responders, as a result of the local ban on synthetic drugs and bath salts, (voted into law by the Saugerties Town Board on March 29, 2012), hospitalizations resulting from overdoses caused by the use of these substances have been significantly reduced. Town Police Chief Sinagra reports there have been no cases of synthetic drug overdoses in the past year.

Enacting this legislation in Saugerties was a proactive measure to protect people in our community from harm. Many people assumed that the drugs were not harmful because they had been sold at convenience stores.

Unlike cigarettes, there was no age restriction placed on the sale of these substances, and they were routinely sold to minors. Products were typically mislabeled and often did not contain accurate lists of ingredients.

These substances pose a significant risk to those who use them by creating addiction and producing a drug-like high with dangerous side effects including: hallucinations, erratic behavior, psychotic episodes (sometimes prolonged), intense anxiety that may lead to suicide, vomiting, increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure, hyperthermia, convulsions, heart attacks, multi-organ system failure and death.

In June of 2013 the NYS Senate and NYS Assembly voted to pass the law, and it was sent to the Governor for final approval. I am thrilled that the Governor has finally signed the Law prohibiting the sale and possession of these dangerous drugs.

-Kelly Myers

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