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July 13, 2012
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Expert panel to discuss how to combat growing use of ‘bath salts’ at forum July 20

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Onondaga County Health Commissioner Cynthia Morrow, MD, MPH, will lead a panel of experts, including representatives of law enforcement and emergency medical service providers, in a community forum Friday, July 20, on “bath salts,” a synthetic drug that is having deadly consequences throughout Central New York.

The free forum will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in Storer Auditorium on the Onondaga Community College Campus, 4585 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Pre-registration is required. Call 471-1359 to register. On-site parking is available.

The forum will be suitable for the general public as well as healthcare providers, law enforcement representatives, first responders and school administrators.

“All of these groups are being affected in one way or another by this ‘bath salts’ crisis,” said Michele Caliva, RN, CSPI, administrative director of the Upstate New York Poison Center, a main sponsor of the forum. “The violent behavior exhibited by individuals who ingest this synthetic drug put all of us in danger, but especially those who arrive first on the scene, our emergency medical technicians and law enforcement.”

Caliva hopes the forum will help in the development of a plan of action to combat the growing incident of bath salts use and the violence that often ensues.

So far this year, the Upstate New York Poison Center has received 273 calls about ‘bath salts.’ The center logged 118 such calls in all of 2011. No ‘bath salts’ calls were received before 2011. Most calls to the center regarding ‘bath salts’ are from healthcare providers who are treating individuals who have ingested the substance.

“We see no end in sight to this activity, which is why it is important to come together as a community and address this issue,” Caliva said.

Joining Dr. Morrow on the panel will be Alexander Garrard, PharmD, a toxicologist with the Upstate New York Poison Center; Daniel Olsson, DO, Upstate Medical University physician and regional medical director for emergency medical services; Brad Finn, executive director of the Prevention Network; and representatives from the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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