New task force will try to deal with bath salts epidemic in Madison County


adison County just formed a, "task force," to deal with the growing problem of bath salts and other synthetic drugs.

The task force met for the first time Wednesday morning at the Oneida Healthcare Center.

One of the members of the task force is Madison County Director of Public Health Eric Faisst.

He tells CNYcentral's Jim Kenyon that the task force was formed because of an epidemic involving the drug known as bath salts.

The meeting included representatives of law enforcement, the district attorney's office, the health department, mental health, school districts, universities and government representatives including the mayor of Oneida.

Faisst says they have agreed to put together a large education campaign to combat bath salts and synthetic drugs.

In addition, the task force will be reaching out to local colleges and universities to get the word out about the dangers of these drugs when students return this fall.

The task force will also increase training with law enforcement and health care providers on how to deal with people who are high on these drugs.

Faisst points out that one of the reasons the task force was formed involved the recent death of 35-year-old Pamela McCarthy who died after being tasered during a violent confrontation with State Police.

Task force members are looking at a multi-faceted approach to the problem that would involve the legal community, public safety, health care providers and substance abuse agencies.