Oneida County Executive calls for county adoption of law banning synthetic drugs used in 'Bath Salts'

By WKTV News

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. - Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. has announced that he has asked the Oneida County Board of Legislators to adopt a countywide local law banning the synthetic drugs that are used in chemical compounds referred to as "bath salts."

"What we are seeing is an epidemic of illegal drug use that is not only taxing our law enforcement agencies, it is imperiling the individuals who use these drugs and the people who come into contact with them while they are under the effects of these drugs," Picente said. "I am personally alarmed at the extent to which these drugs promote violent and bizarre behavior that is not only self-destructive but also potentially dangerous to those around them."

Picente said the local law incorporates state, federal and local provisions and will help establish a uniform tough standard all across Oneida County. "These illegal 'bath salts' have hit our community hard, and this is the way we need to fight back," Picente said. "We need to fully empower our law enforcement officials to arrest those who have these chemicals, even before they become a danger to the public, and to crack down on those who sell substances that are clearly hazardous to the welfare of our people and our communities."

Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara said he supports a firm response to the rise in "bath salts" incidents. "This law is an important tool in our efforts to prevent the spread and use of illegal and harmful substances," McNamara said. "The District Attorney's Office is committed to prosecuting these cases to the fullest extent of the law. It will be a great benefit to law enforcement to have a county law on the books that will allow us to prosecute these cases and curb the harmful results that have been seen from the use of these synthetic drugs."

The local law Picente seeks to have approved comes as part of a multi-dimensional county response to the "bath salts" issue.

"We have been very pro-active in providing training so that front-line staff in County Government and other agencies will have the tools needed to deal with individuals who may be using these drugs," Picente said. "We want to get these individuals into help and off of drugs, and we want to make sure that suppliers pay a stiff penalty. This law is a major step in the right direction, and I am very hopeful that our Board of Legislators will respond as they have always done, to protect the people of Oneida County."

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