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July 16, 2012 - 5:44pm

UMMC's emergency room handling bath salt cases on a routine basis

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, UMMC, synthetic drugs, bath salts.

There's no doubt bath salts have added to the workload at UMMC's ER, according to Chief Medical Officer Michael Merrill.

Merrill said emergency room staff deals with patients coming into the hospital on practically a daily basis who often need to be restrained and sedated.

"We see fairly frequently individuals coming in with intoxication and basically acute psychosis from (bath salts)," Merrill said. "It's quite common."

While Merrill is not working directly in ER, so he can't confirm specifics of patient behavior, they are often described as confused, delusional and agitated.

Those are all common traits with amphetamine-type drugs taken in high doses.

"I don't think people are trying to achieve psychosis," Merrill said. "They are just looking for the high.

"What drug users do is dose themselves for drugs," Merrill added. "They make a calculation on how much they want to take and I don’t think that is an easy calculation to make."

A miscalculation leads to an overdose and the bizarre behavior now associated with bath salts.

In Batavia, recently, we've seen reports of people climbing on roofs, waving knives and calling 9-1-1 to report the sounds of gushots fired.

Talk to just about anyone about bath salts and invariably somebody mentions face eating.

Rumor has it, people high on bath salts have a propensity to try and take a bite of other people's faces.

Merrill said there's no reliable evidence that's a behavior associated with bath salts.

"I don't know if there's anything specific about bath salts that would make anybody want to bite anybody's face," Merrill said. "I know that’s in the news, but I don’t know that’s an intoxicating feature of bath salts. It’s not known to be a typical intoxicating feature of bath salts."

One interesting aspect of reports about bath salts is the patchy nature of the seeming epidemic across the United States. Some communities, such as Batavia, Utica, Fulton and even big cities such as Los Angeles, seem to have significant problems with bath salts. Yet Merrill said he talks to colleagues in places such as San Francisco and Buffalo and is told bath salt problems are rare.

Meanwhile, the Batavia Daily News reported today that 420 Emporium, 400 Ellicott St., Batavia, has been selling a bath salt known as Amped.

The story doesn't even use the word "alleged" to describe the assertion that 420 Emporium has been selling the controlled substance.

A reporter said she observed Amped transactions Saturday night and that an employee handed a package of Amped to Councilwoman Rosemary Christian after she inquired about purchasing the drug (Christian did not complete the purchase). 

An employee reportedly said the shop would continue selling Amped until today.

U.S. Attorney for Western New York William Hochul confirmed today something he told The Batavian last week, that as he understands the new law, as of July 9, when President Barack Obama signed legislation sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer, it is a federal crime to sell and possess bath salts.

If it's true that 420 Emporium sold bath salts through Sunday, and the law was effectively immediately upon the president's signature, any such alleged sales would be in violation of federal law.

Also, if the store employee said sales would be discontinued, he is implicitly admitting to bath salt sales prior to today. Besides the new law, bath salts were on a Drug Enforcement Administration emergency controlled substance list prior to July 9 and illegal to sell, though the federal government had a much higher bar to cross to prove any crime.

When The Batavian entered 420 Emporium today, as soon as we identified ourselves, a stocky male employee pointed to the door and said, "Have a nice day."

We asked, "Is the information in this article accurate?"

He repeated the gesture and said, "Have a nice day."

When asked if he wanted a chance to correct any issues, he said, "Please leave." 

The employee refused to answer a number of repeated questions, saying each time, "Have a nice day."

The Batavian then attempted to contact the owner of the 420 Emporium chain by calling the Brockport store and the Fulton store. Both employees took messages and the employee in Fulton offered to send a text message to the owner with our interview request. So far, the owner has not called The Batavian.

Richard Clark
Richard Clark's picture
Last seen: 8 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 11 2008 - 1:29am
Please help us support Beat Out Bath Salts! Beat Out Bath Salts Thanks Everyone, Sorry Howard for the highjack.
Charlie Mallow
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Last seen: 4 years 5 months ago
Joined: Apr 28 2008 - 9:05pm

They might as well close the doors up now and start running. Rosemary will never let up on them.

jeff saquella
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Last seen: 1 year 12 months ago
Joined: Sep 30 2008 - 5:22pm

this place needs to be shut down!....whats it going to take

Raelene Christian
Raelene Christian's picture
Last seen: 2 years 7 months ago
Joined: Oct 20 2008 - 11:53am

If you read the Daily News, you already know that I have seen firsthand what bath salts do to people, and as I already stated, it is horrific.
Here are some links from youtube.com that show how horrific these bath salts are, watch the videos. If for some reason the link doesn’t work, go to youtube.com and type in the search engine bath salts attacks on police.





Personally, I believe that bath salts should be referred to as “DEVIL DUST”, the name is more fitting.

Gabor Deutsch
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Last seen: 6 years 1 month ago
Joined: May 24 2008 - 4:16pm

WTF ? It's illegal but it's not ? This makes no sense. Now the Batavian is going to the place that sells it legally to bust them ? I don't understand this federal crime but not state crime bullshit. Grand standing at it's finest. I guess I don't need to protest on wednesday coz The Batavian has got it covered. Great job !

Doug Yeomans
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Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Feb 13 2009 - 8:28am

I think thebatavian went in there to ask questions, to cover the news, to give the store a chance to tell its side of the story.

Howard B. Owens
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Last seen: 8 hours 2 min ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm

Dave, your comment, quite honestly, is nonsensical.

Brian Graz
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Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: Sep 18 2010 - 4:57pm

These people {420 Emporium} knew exactly what they were "dealing", exactly what it reportedly does to people, and exactly what the recently enacted law said... yet they continued to thumb their nose {more accurately give the bird} to the prospect of not only being busted, but seriously hurting someone. Shutting their business down is NOT sufficient penalty. Someone needs to pay the piper.

John Woodworth JR
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Last seen: 6 years 12 months ago
Joined: May 28 2009 - 11:13am

I agree with Doug. The Batavian's job is like any other news agency. GET ANSWERS and REVEAL THE WHOLE STORY! (This side, That side and the True side!)

Frank Bartholomew
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Last seen: 8 months 1 week ago
Joined: Apr 4 2010 - 8:02pm

If I owned a business that was selling anything that made peoples brain activity change,and I was shut down, I would try to somehow file an anti trust suit against the govt., and claim big alcohol is monopolizing the "catch a buzz" market.
You already know my first question, WTF is alcohols intended purpose???????????????????????????????????????????
In my opinion, anyone who claims to be anti drug, but supports drug use of any kind outside the parameters of its so called," intended purpose" is a straight up hypocrite. Alcohol is a drug!!!

Jason Brunner
Jason Brunner's picture
Last seen: 6 years 9 months ago
Joined: Jun 17 2010 - 1:31pm

How many cases of drunken and stupid does the ER have to deal with? Every time I am in there with one of our kids there is at least one person drunk off of their gourd. I will admit "bath salts" is a problem, however, closing that store won't fix the problem. We don't have a store selling other drugs in Batavia, but we sure do have a drug problem. Maybe instead of worrying about where they got them we should beef up and support our local GCASA and NA organizations.

Gabor Deutsch
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Last seen: 6 years 1 month ago
Joined: May 24 2008 - 4:16pm

I will admit that I can be pretty dense sometimes. I was told by someone that my comment made me sound like I was on bath salts ! LOL. I won't delete my comment but I just want to say that I changed my mind. Any pressure that is put on these places that sell bath salts is a positive thing.

Tammy Way
Tammy Way's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 20 hours ago
Joined: Jul 19 2008 - 12:21pm

these owners have a store in brockport? does brockport have the same types of problems -- i never hear of bath salts there -- or they only sold in batavia?

Irene Will
Irene Will's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 week ago
Joined: Feb 2 2009 - 2:01pm

Just want to point out - - Howard was on top of this story way back in JANUARY !!! http://thebatavian.com/howard-owens/potentially-dangerous-synthetic-drug... !!!!!!

Howard B. Owens
Howard B. Owens's picture
Last seen: 8 hours 2 min ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm

Thanks for remembering, Irene!

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