Local medical centers contend with bath salts abusers

As the reports of central new yorkers under the influence of synthetic drugs like bath salts continue to increase, local medical centers are feeling both the hazards and the personnel strain of the drug abusers.

This weekend, the city of Utica encountered three different cases of people under the influence of bath salts, each exhibiting outrageous and bizarre behavior. After police were able to apprehend and get users under control, they took them to St. Elizabeth's Hospital. With all of the reports in the past few months, medical facilities have been encountering more and more synthetic drug abusers.

"I think it's just the beginning," Steve Magnussen, Manager of Security Operations and Safety Officer at Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare in Utica, says. "The numbers are rising, we didn't see anything about bath salts in February, the numbers are starting to go up and up."

Magnussen says they receive three or four bath salts patients a week, and often, the patients can be dangerous.

"The one's with the increased aggression, because of their hallucinations...really don't know it's a physician, so it can be quite the risk for the physician," Magnussen says.

Oneida County is not alone, Community Memorial Hospital in Hamilton in Madison County has seen its fair share of bath salts patients, something Cardiac and Pulmonary Services Director John Salka is not familiar with.

"This is a drug that affects people like I've never seen before," Salka says. "I've worked big cities in the emergency departments and this is something like I've never experienced."