VERONA, Va. -- Corporal Todd Lloyd has worked for the Augusta County Sheriff's Office for nearly 20 years and he said the synthetic drug known as bath salts has changed the nature of drug use in the Valley.
“In my 17 years being in law enforcement, the bath salts thing is the worst I've seen. As bad as it is to say, it's worse than meth, cocaine, all that,” said Lloyd.
Lloyd says about 35 percent of calls to the sheriff's office during 2011 and 2012 dealt with bath salts.
“Early 2011, we didn't know what bath salts were. We didn't have a clue.”
That percentage of calls has dropped to almost none at all thanks to education and tougher laws dealing with the drug. Bath salts use has dropped, but meth use has increased because of its availability and price in the county.
Staunton Augusta Waynesboro Coalition Coordinator Keri Jones taught people about bath salts and now she's switching to focus on meth again.
“We're having to re-educate the public on meth and remind people of the dangers of meth, after we have discussed bath salts for the past seven months,” said Jones.
Lloyd said Augusta County used to be called the meth capital of the state. The county's earning that name again with bath salts use declining.
“It's very important for the public to know, and parents, emergency services, to know what this stuff can do,” said Lloyd.
Waynesboro's police department has seen the same trend of more people starting to use meth instead of bath salts.