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Bath salts hit UMaine campus for 1st time

On Friday, Jan. 18, the University of Maine Police Department found a non-student to be in possession of designer drug bath salts in a dorm room in Androscoggin Hall.

The drugs were found when a UMPD officer responded to a report of an odor of marijuana from a room on the second floor of Androscoggin Hall. The officer detected the odor coming from Room 206 and knocked on the door. Darin Lieu, a 19-year-old student, opened the door, admitted to possessing marijuana and removed it from his pocket.

Also in the room was Cole Cassidy, a 19-year-old non-student from Durham. Cassidy was searched and was found with a square black wallet in his pocket. The wallet was searched and was found to contain marijuana as well as small plastic bags of a white powder, which was determined to be bath salts after a field test by the officer.

Cassidy was not found to be under the influence of bath salts but admitted to the officer that he intended to traffic the drugs. He was arrested for unlawful trafficking in synthetic hallucinogenic drugs.

This incident is the first time bath salts has been found on the UMaine campus. UMPD Lieutenant Robert Welch attributes this to a lack of overlap between the college and drug-dealing communities, saying, “You don’t see a kid successful enough to get into the University of Maine [involved with bath salts].”

Welch also said medical personnel have told him many bath salts users are “heavy drug users” and people coming out of rehabilitation for problems with cocaine addiction.

On Tues, Jan. 22, dean of students Robert Dana posted a message on the Announcement and Alerts folder on FirstClass, titled, “Fwd: : Notice Regarding Bath Salts” that read, “Warning: In recent months, Bath Salts have been an increasing problem in the Bangor area and there has been an attempt to bring them on campus. This attempt resulted in an arrest of a non UMaine student.

“They are very dangerous drugs that have been misrepresented by sellers as ‘Molly’ or other drugs.”

The message went on to list side effects of using bath salts, which included increased heart rate, fits and delusions, and severe paranoia and panic attacks. The message also encouraged anybody with information about the presence of bath salts on campus to contact UMPD at 581-4040 and encouraged students with drug use or addiction issues to call the Student Wellness Resource Center at 581-1423.

Bath salts started spreading through Maine in 2011, first in the streets of Bangor, where it was known as “monkey dust,” according to the Bangor Daily News. On Jan. 12, 2013, the Bangor Daily News reported that a new, stronger strain of bath salts is surfacing and is “killing users and causing others to act in bizarre ways, according to police and hospital officials.”