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Bath salts Bangor town meeting set for Sept. 14

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"Bath salts is sold under these innocuous names (Vanilla Sky, Monkey Dust, Kryptonite, White Ivory, etc.); people may not realize what it is. We've been seeing a lot of harm, both physical and psychological, come to those who have used it." - Dr. Anthony Ng, medical director Psychiatric Observation Unit at Acadia Hospital in Bangor.

"I hope that people learn from the tragedies that have already happened and have yet to happen. And I think there will be more. The stakes are so high with this particular chemical, people don't get second chances." - Shawn Yardley, director at City of Bangor Health and Community Services.

The public is encouraged to attend a Town Hall meeting on Bangor's "bath salts" epidemic to be held at the Gracie Theatre on the campus of Husson University on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. This meeting will be a free information session and an opportunity for the public to hear first-hand information from area professionals who have direct experience in dealing with the bath salts epidemic.

These are not your grammy's bath salts. The drug known as bath salts which has created a crisis in the greater Bangor area is a synthetic drug marketed and sold under a variety of names. The drug is sometimes sold online as plant food and/or plant fertilizer. Labeling bath salts as "Not For Human Consumption" is an attempt to sidestep current federal drug laws. Gov. Paul LePage is working with Maine legislators to draft an emergency bill to toughen penalties for possession of the drug. According to Rep. Doug Damon, the new bill, expected to be available by late September, will seek to make possession of bath salts a felony. Currently, the sale of bath salts is prohibited in Maine but possession is a misdemeanor.

The drug usually appears in powder or tablet form which users swallow, snort or inject. It's a highly addictive drug whose side effects can include suicidal thoughts, renal failure, unpredictable and possible violent behavior, hallucinations, severe paranoia, delusions and the sensation of being on fire.

At the Town Hall meeting scheduled for Sept. 14, Bangor Chief of Police Ron Gastia will discuss bath salts from the perspective of law enforcement. Nearly every day, Bangor police officers are seeing incidents related to use of the drug, from the destruction of property to assaults and death. Chief Gastia will share information on how Bangor PD has been handling the growing number of bath salts-related cases, how destructive the drug has been to our area and his thoughts on what we might see moving forward.

Dr. Anthony Ng is Medical Director of the Psychiatric Observation Unit at Acadia Hospital in Bangor. Acadia has seen a significant increase in bath salts-related cases over the last six months. Dr. Ng will share information on why this particular drug has become an enormous problem for our area and some of the effects he has seen on patients admitted to Acadia Hospital.

Following the guest speakers (including a representative of Eastern Maine Medical Center), questions will be taken from attendees. Moderators for the event will be Mike and Mike from Kiss 94.5. The Bangor Bath Salts Town Meeting is a joint effort of the Bangor Police Department, Acadia Hospital, Eastern Maine Medical Center, City of Bangor, Gracie Theatre at Husson University, New England School of Communications, Blueberry Broadcasting and The Maine Edge.

Town Meeting: Bangor Bath Salts Epidemic. Wednesday, Sept. 14, Gracie Theatre. Husson University, 7 p.m.

Last modified on Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:54

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