Dealers in the Queen City package the drugs in 1-inch baggies, folded magazine paper or foil, but since there are dozens of different varieties of the drug, “you have no clue what is coming in that bag,” the lieutenant said.
Reagan, who is a drug recognition expert, said most users are junkies who typically prefer opiates and use bath salts because it’s cheap and they can get around urine tests for drugs. They usually smoke or inject it, but it also can be snorted or swallowed, he said.
While the average user is age 35, the drug already has reached the state’s youth. Conference attendees were told that a seventh-grader from Rumford recently was caught with bath salts.
Bangor Police Chief Ron Gastia said parents should talk to their children about the dangers of drugs, especially bath salts, which also are sold under names such as “monkey dust” and “Kryptonite.”
Bath salts intoxication is a medical emergency but also a community problem because of its ripple effects, Gastia and Penobscot County Deputy Chief Troy Morton said.
Bangor automatically dispatches at least two officers to every bath salts incident, but that is not possible in rural communities.
“We have 54 towns that we’re covering with less than 10 troopers or deputies on at any given time,” Morton noted.
If a bath salts user is placed in handcuffs to be taken to the hospital, the officer must accompany the ambulance, which takes him away from the towns he covers. And since the Penobsoct County Jail does not accept anyone on bath salts, deputies and troopers sometimes must wait until the user is medically cleared, again keeping them away from their towns.
Bath salts incidents in Bangor alone have increased from three in May to about 100 in September, Gastia said, adding that the illicit drug is hurting more than just the people using them. He said it is a community problem.
“Don’t think this isn’t going to affect you,” Gastia said. “When you show up at the ER and the ER is full because of bath salts, or if you need a cop and they’re tied up with a bath salts incident, it will affect you.”