Oswego County (WSYR-TV) -- As long as there’s a demand for synthetic drugs, there will be a market. That’s how Oswego County’s undersheriff assesses the ban on bath salts.
They are still a major problem despite recent raids and one local family wants to remind neighbors that the fight is far from over.
Victor Woolson struggled with bath salts and synthetic marijuana for months. The fight ended when a 19 year old's body was pulled from Lake Ontario on his mother's birthday.
“He was getting better. He was getting off it. Then he found out you could still walk in the store and buy it,” said Woolson’s mother Teresa.
Victor’s family made it their mission to shut down head shops, spurring local raids in Oswego County, and pushing for better enforcement of bans on synthetic drugs.
“The police officer who came to my brother’s funeral, who came out to let us know what happened to him, came to the calling hours. He asked me if there was anything I could do…and I said close these places down and he said, I wish it was that easy,” said Victor’s sister Sarah Gauger.
Oswego County Undersheriff Gene Sullivan predicts it could get harder to enforce bans as designer drugs are driven underground, sold on street corners or at private homes. Even with Federal laws, other countries can peddle drugs online -- out of the reach of law enforcement.
"Nobody has been successful at policing the Internet at this point. It’s certainly one of those instances and it’s not rare, where the laws haven't kept up with the technology,” Sullivan said.
Victor's family believes he wouldn't have tried the drug if it wasn't sold in his neighborhood and they're hoping the market will dry up if bath salts are less accessible.
"Drug dealers having a storefront is just not acceptable,” Teresa Woolson said.
“There has to be people out there who are concerned enough to go in there and see if they are selling it and then go and complain about it. Our community has to complain…to get it out,” Sarah said.
Oswego County lawmakers are considering a law to prohibit the sale, possession or use of synthetic drugs. It would give local law enforcement more power to make an arrest. A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 13.