Public meeting in Evart to address bath salts

EVART — The drugs known as bath salts and the dangers they pose to users has been a concern for law authorities for more than a year, and members of the Evart Police Department will be addressing the topic at Thursday’s community watch meeting.

The event is open to the public and will include a presentation by the department and a discussion by Osceola County Prosecuting Attorney Tyler Thompson regarding cases within the county. It is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at the Evart Fire Hall, located at 109 E. Sixth St.

“The meeting is due to the increase in complaints we are taking about people who are under the influence of this drug,” said Evart Police Chief Kendra Backing.

Bath salts is the street name for drugs containing a substance that creates effects similar to cocaine and amphetamines. They are sold under names including White Rush, Bliss, Vanilla Sky, Ivory Wave and more.

People who use bath salts suffer from symptoms including chest pain, paranoia, hyper-alertness, seizures, extreme anxiety, violent behavior, liver failure and more. Symptoms can last up to three days.

In Michigan, legislators passed a law making a number of synthetic chemicals, or Schedule 1 drugs, illegal to use or sell in August of 2011.

Evart Police Officer Michelle Gebben will be the speaker at the meeting, and she said she is striving for education, prevention and awareness.

“We’d like to further educate the community about problems that directly affect them,” Gebben said. “We don’t want community members to be unprepared.”

She said she will provide information and videos about what bath salts look like, their history, what the effects are on the body and how people who use bath salts act while under the influence.