The Bangor Area Recovery Network Reflects on the Bath Salts Epidemic

September is National Recovery Month and the Bangor Area Recovery Network celebrated on Wednesday, holding its 5th Annual Summit on addiction recovery.

Last year, the term “Bath Salts” was heard for the first time, now medical experts discuss the impacts of the drug on the community. Over 9,000 people in the greater Bangor area are in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse.

Penobscot County Sheriff, Glenn Ross said, “We’re seeing pharmaceutical abuse, heroine, cocaine, methoxetamine.”

In addition to those drugs, Maine has seen an increase in the use of bath salts. In 2011, the Bangor Area Recovery Network, known as BARN, was seeing 4 to 5 cases a day.

Board of Directors, Bangor Area Recovery Network, Bruce Campbell, said “What we found ourselves in last year was a real community crisis. We’re celebrating the response and the successful response we’ve had to that crisis.”

Now medical experts say they are learning more about bath salts and the recovery process, but so are people making, selling and consuming the drug.

“The chemical formula is being changed. As soon as you have a law, individuals are trying to change the chemical make up to try to make an illegal drug legal,” said Sheriff Ross.

BARN is focusing on recovery. They want to get the users out of hospitals and jails, not only to save tax payers money, but to make the community safer.

Campbell said, “If someone goes through treatment and they get involved with supporting other people in recovery, they have a 92% success rate.”

Even with harsher punishments, Sheriff Ross believes bath salts are sticking around.

Sheriff Ross added, “It’s a problem that isn’t going to go away tomorrow, we’re going to be dealing with it for decades.”

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