Langlade County deals with bath salts epidemic - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Langlade County deals with bath salts epidemic

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LANGLADE COUNTY (WAOW) -

A dangerous drug is sweeping Langlade County.

"I have not seen a drug this destructive in nature that has had the impact on our area that this drug has had," said Langlade County Sheriff Bill Greening.

Sheriff Greening says his officers are a lot busier because of bath salts.

"Almost daily we're responding to calls for dealing with individuals that are believed to be under the influence of bath salts," Sheriff Greening told Newsline 9.

Medical experts say bath salts is a powerful hallucinogen that drastically changes users' behavior.
Sheriff Greening calls it an epidemic in his area. In fact, he says, the jail population has grown by 30 percent because of bath salts.

"They can't wait to get out of jail so they can use again. That's the hold that this drug has on the users," said Sheriff Greening.  "That's what I think makes it so destructive, is that we've had people that have had their entire lives ruined because of this drug."

Sheriff Greening has a lot of disturbing stories relating to bath salts.
One man called 911 to report a fire. When first responders arrived, they found the caller standing outside.

"[He] had poured anti-freeze over his head because he said he was on fire," said Sheriff Greening. "Upon inspection there was no fire that had occurred at the home."

Hospital officials in Langlade County say they've also noticed more patients under the influence of bath salts.

"They can be laying there mumbling to themselves and the next minute they're trying to jump up and leave," said Sue McVey, Emergency Services Manager at the Langlade Hospital.

Doctors and law enforcement say they're working together to tackle this problem, but it's tough.

"Right now, basically we're just warehousing people in our jail," said Sheriff Greening. "Taking them off the streets temporarily and stopping their usage temporarily while they're in jail."

The sheriff says his officers are working to teach people about the dangers of bath salts. He says he's also talking with lawmakers to try to crack down on the problem.

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