Bath salts blamed for two incidents in Utica

Utica police were called to two scenes Saturday night where they suspect synthetic drugs played a role.

Utica (WSYR-TV) - Utica police were called to the Radisson Hotel around 8:00 p.m. Saturday night, where a man had locked himself in the women's bathroom for two hours.

When officers got inside, the man seemed disoriented.  It appeared he had broken a light.  Police also found two hypodermic needles and the synthetic drug known as "bath salts".

David Nichols, 30, of Noyes Street in Utica was arrested and charged with Trespassing and Criminal Mischief.

An hour later, police were called to "Stanley's Bar" on Court Street for an emotionally disturbed person.  They found a woman sweating profusely on the stairs with a blank stare.

When police asked the 41 year old woman what was wrong, they say she lunged at them and tried to bite an officer.  She screamed that she wanted to eat them and kill someone as police restrained her.

The woman, who is not being identified, has not been charged, though police say she could be in the future.

She was taken to St. Luke's Memorial Hospital, where treatment will include a mental health evaluation.

Investigators say they discovered, at the hospital, that the woman was under the influence of "bath salts".

The dangerous synthetic drug is being blamed for a steady increase of erratic behavior and emergency room visits across Central New York as police and anti-drug advocates have waited on state and federal lawmakers to clarify the law.

Drug makers have skirted law enforcement by creating so-called designer drugs, containing evolving chemical combinations that haven't been defined as illegal yet, staying one step ahead of regulations.  Congress recently took steps to tackle a broader base of chemicals.

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