UPDATE: Fri 12:22 PM, Nov. 1, 2013
The Langlade County Sheriff's Department is hosting an informational meeting Saturday, November 2 regarding the use and sale of bath salts in the area.
According to the Antigo Daily Journal, the meeting begins at 11 a.m. In the Clover Room at the Langlade County Fairgrounds.
A similar town hall style meeting was held in August.
Everyone is invited to attend.
ORIGINAL STORY: Tues 11:14, Aug. 6, 2013
Drug investigators said it's worse than heroin and is spreading rapidly in Langlade County, making the county and primarily Antigo, the "mecca" for bath salts.
"Bath Salts" are a street drug, that are not the same as what you may put into your bathtub for enjoyment. They are extremely dangerous and potentially deadly. People are using it a number of ways: snorting, eating, drinking, injecting and smoking.
The meeting started at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Langlade County Fairgrounds Clover Room and the room was packed with the most people they've seen at an educational meeting to date.
Antigo residents Stephanie Doerr and Jade Moermond were at the meeting.
"Shocked with how fast its growing," Doerr said. "I wouldn't expect something so fast to explode in such a small community."
Langlade County Sheriff's Department Drug Investigator Dan Bauknecht led the meeting and said since a shift about two months ago, the county's property crime has increased two-fold.
"Yeah I moved back here in October," Moermond said. "It's tearing it (the community) apart."
Bauknecht said heavy use of bath salts has grown rapidly since 2009, and so has needle use in the area.
Local law enforcement has been busier than ever in both their investigations and educating the public about this street drug's danger.
"We're making arrests almost every day," Langlade County Sheriff Bill Greening said, "concerning bath salts."
Greening said Marathon County's leading drug is heroin, Lincoln County is meth and Langlade County is bath salts. He said he doesn't know how it happens or why it happens to be that way.
The exact consistency of the drug is unknown, but Bauknecht said they are suspecting people are buying it online, cutting it and selling it in Wisconsin.
"A good 50-70 percent of inmates coming into our jail are convictions as a result of bath salts," Greening said.
Bauknecht explained in his presentation that another hard part of investigating bath salts is understanding the reaction to it, every person reacts differently, and the withdrawals are different lengths for everyone.
"Yeah it's scary," Greening said. "Fortunately we've experienced individuals under the influence in very bizarre behavior and nothing has been violent yet. It's only a matter of time."
Researchers of the drug are left baffled with how long it stays in the system, the high lasts 3-4 hours, but the suicidal and homicidal thoughts can last up to 14 days after.
Even though the bath salt epidemic and fight has just begun, and people are behind bars, the sheriff said now is the time to educate.
"Being a step parent of a child in this community and knowing how widespread it's getting is terrifying," Doerr said.
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