Have you heard of the drug "water"? It's being called an epidemic in Syracuse

The crime scene on West Glen Avenue / file photo

Community leaders in Syracuse say they're joining together to fight use of the drug "water."

Water is the street name for a cigarette or a joint that has been dipped in embalming fluid that has been laced with PCP.

Syracuse police say the drug has played a role in recent crimes in the city. Investigators say earlier this month, a man was high on water when he shot and killed two people and injured a third on West Glen Avenue, not far from Meachem Field on Syracuse's south side.

On Tuesday, Khalid Bey, who lives in Syracuse and is a candidate for Syracuse Common Council, held a meeting at the Southside Community Coalition's Communication Center. The purpose was to discuss how to use education and legislation to fight the use of water.

"It's beginning to be quite frightening actually for many people, particularly older people," says Bey. "You have some seniors expressing concerns about encountering people under the influence."

About thirty people attended the meeting, including Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler, Assemblyman Sam Roberts, Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, and Sen. Dave Valesky.

Bey says he would like to see a bill passed in the New York state Assembly to make the possession, sale, or recreational use of embalming fluid illegal. Sen. Valesky says a bill has already been passed in the state Senate making the criminal possession of embalming fluid illegal.

Colby Sutter, who works with the Prevention Network in Syracuse, says water can be very dangerous. It can cause brain damage and hallucinations. He also says people who are high on water sometimes believe they have super human strength, and they can put themselves in harmful situations because of that misconception.

"I'm definitely hearing a lot more about it with kids that are trying it, kids that have tried it, or they know their brothers have done it or their sisters," says Sutter. "It seems to be getting more and more widely used."

Have you heard of the drug water before? Do you know anyone who's been affected by it? What should be done to fight the problem? Post your comments below.