ELYRIA, Ohio - The first person in northeast Ohio has been charged under a new state law that makes it a crime to sell or possess a drug known as bath salts, as well as synthetic marijuana. And the new law is a tool law enforcement has been waiting for.
Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 64 in July, making it a crime to sell or have bath salts. It went into effect on Monday. By Tuesday, Elyria police made their first arrest under the new law.
Allison Hughes, 30, became the first person arrested in the city under the bath salts law.
Police said she was pulled over for a traffic stop and was caught with the salts just this week.
"She was arrested at that time, brought to the Elyria Police Department where she was arrested and brought to the county jail," explained Elyria Lt. Andy Eichenlaub.
The synthetic substance labeled "bath salts" was sold in certain head shops and convenience stores. It gained popularity in the U.S. and Ohio this year. The Kettering Medical Center in Dayton blamed five deaths on the substance already.
"If you take PCP, cocaine, methamphetamines, and kind of wrap 'em up altogether, you have bath salts," said Pam Lamb with the Kettering Medical Center.
Elyria police said bath salts are becoming a growing problem.
"People jumping out of second story windows, just acting very irrational," said Lt. Eichenlaub.
"They are paranoid, delusional. They have very extreme hallucinations. May see werewolves, may believe hospital staff is trying to harm them," said Lamb.
Eichenlaub said people on "bath salts" often became a danger to themselves and others and police couldn't do anything about it, until now.
Elyria police will check on stores and businesses throughout the city and make sure they aren't still selling the illegal substances.