ALBANY -- Compared to other drugs, it is the "new high" and is becoming a major problem, said Maj. Bill Berry, leader of the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit.
The drug goes by the generic name bath salts, but no one mixes it in a hot tub of water. Berry said the drug is snorted, smoked, injected or mixed into food or drink.
"The user has no pain threshold or one that is very high," Berry said. "If a man (on bath salts) keeps approaching an officer and you shoot him six times, all it does is make him mad."
Berry spoke at the noon Gang Task Force monthly meeting in room 120 of the Government Center, 222 Pine Ave. The meeting, open to concerned residents, usually has a speaker on a different topic each month.
Recently according to The Associated Press "the Drug Enforcement Administration seized more than $36 million in cash and arrested 91 people in a nationwide crackdown against manufacturers, distributors and vendors of synthetic designer drugs."
The major drug problem in Dougherty County is the abuse of prescription drugs, Berry said. But the synthetic bath salts drugs are becoming more prevalent, he added.
A major problem with the salts is that they can induce extremely violent behavior, Berry said. If all a Taser will do is make the user angry, imagine what trying to subdue him with drugs in a hypodermic needle would do, he said.
"We have had times when it took five of us to hold a suspect down," Berry said. "The drug is not rampant here, but there is enough of it to be concerned."
That concern fosters the drug unit's reaching out to schools, churches and civic groups with speakers. The next Gang Task Force meeting is scheduled for Aug. 23.