The state's chief medical examiner found that drugs known as bath salts are responsible for killing 28-year-old Christopher Tsacoyeanes last month in Clarendon.
That was before the state enacted an emergency law to help stop the sale of these drugs in Vermont.
"It is a stimulant that causes very bad side effects like hallucinations, paranoia, suicidal behavior, seizures and death. We believe this one represents our first bath salt death," says state Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen.
Dr. Chen says synthetic drugs are not new to Vermont, but drug producers have found a way to keep this type on store shelves in some states even after laws were enacted on the state and federal levels to ban them.
"Obviously the attractive thing is you can walk in a head shop and buy it, go online and buy it. It is really marketed to teenagers so that is what worries me the most," Chen says.
State Police Commissioner Keith Flynn says national studies show high school juniors and seniors are the largest market for these now-deadly drugs.
In July, Governor Shumlin took emergency action, banning 86 chemical substances found in these ever changing concoctions, and state and local police have been cracking down on the suppliers. But Flynn says enforcement must be paired with education to see any significant change in use.
"There may be some misconception out there that If it's packaged, or has some type of authenticity on it then it's safe. That couldn't be further from the truth," Flynn says.
While some say the neon packaging may make the drug look harmless, state health officials say it is just as dangerous as some of the most notorious street drugs.
"Since we do not know what half of them are, and they change from day to day it certainly can be as bad if not worse than methamphetamines," Dr. Chen says.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:54:10 GMT
The door to room 118 at the Liberty Inn and Suites is gone-- busted by police during an early morning drug raid. They say tenant Julie Herron, 41, was selling heroin out her room. She was living thereMore >>
A South Burlington drug bust exposed new abuses of the state's homeless voucher program. A couple was arrested for selling heroin out of their motel room, and police say the state was footing the bill for their stay.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:56:29 GMT
A public defender entered 34-year-old Anthony Wright's not guilty plea in the Chittenden County courthouse Friday morning. Police say a search of Wright's residence two days earlier revealed about 250More >>
A Burlington man denies drug charges after police say they stumbled upon his marijuana grow operation. It happened while authorities were investigating another alleged drug crime next door.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:45 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:45:07 GMT
Prosecutors in a murder case said Thursday that backups at the Vermont Forensics Lab have slowed their case, and the defense said the delays are violating their client's right to a speedy trial. So, isMore >>
Prosecutors in a murder case said backups at the Vt. Forensics Lab slowed their case; the defense said the delays violate their client's right to a speedy trial. So, is that courtroom strategy or is there really a backlog? More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 9:45 AM EDT2013-05-17 13:45:45 GMT
A trial date has been set for a Massachusetts man accused of killing a woman in southern Vermont. 31-year-old Frank Caraballo will be in court September 9. He's accused of killing Melissa Barratt inMore >>
A trial date has been set for a Massachusetts man accused of killing a woman in southern Vermont.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 12:26 PM EDT2013-05-17 16:26:55 GMT
A Vermont used car dealer is facing federal fraud charges of hiding malfunctions in the cars he sold. Prosecutors say Douglas Jordan, 40, of Wolcott, bought high-mileage used cars at auction and sold themMore >>
A Vermont used car dealer is facing federal fraud charges of hiding malfunctions in the cars he sold.More >>