One area fire department is trying to educate other officials about the synthetic drug known as bath salts.
Hundreds of law enforcement, fire departments and EMS agencies gathered at the Maynard Fire Department in Marcy to learn more about the drug and how to handle those under the influence.
"We always have to think about our safety in the back of our minds and especially now," said Maynard's Assistant Fire Chief Steve Buda.
Chief Buda of the Maynard Fire Department says the increase in synthetic drugs in Oneida County is becoming more prevalent.
"We cannot get laxed in any way shape or form thinking that what we are walking to is a routine call.. Our vigilance must be maintained at all times," Chief Buda.
The fire department in Marcy hosted an information session Tuesday tonight for area law enforcement, fire departments and EMS agencies. And although law makers have recently been successful in banning various synthetic chemical compounds, Chief Buda says it always seems like manufacturers are manipulating the drug.
Dr. Alexander Garrard of the Upstate NY Poison Center says there are still many unknowns and obstacles that first responders and law enforcement are facing.
"In the field they don't have as many drugs available like we have in the ER. They have very limited arsenal of drugs available so knowing how to effectively using those medications to sedate a patient and keeping them safe is a tough challenge," said Dr. Garrard.
Dr. Garrard says the Poison Control Center in Upstate New York has dealt with almost 300 phone calls regarding bath salts, 45 of those calls being in Oneida County.
Even though a number of chemicals are banned throughout the state, Dr. Garrard says there is a lot of work to be done. "There are substances out there today that we don't know what about yet. The challenge is what is out there because when we know what's out there we can know what to do," said Dr. Garrard.
Dr. Garrard was one of various presenters at Tuesday night's information session. Area law enforcement also talked about case studies of bath salts incidents and how officials handled the situation.
Chief Buda says although there are still many uncertainties with the synthetic drug he hopes tonight's event can better prepare 1st responders.