Bath Salts Case Study
Lunder-Dineen’s first collaborative CME/CE-certified education program for health care professionals is entitled Responding to Patients Abusing Bath Salts.
“Bath salts” is the code name used to refer to an alarming and very risky synthetic psychoactive designer drug. Abuse of the drug began in Europe and arrived in the United States in 2010. Over the next two years, bath salts became a prevalent issue in northern New England. The most common users were longtime drug users between the ages of 20 and 29.
Lunder-Dineen learned of this statewide problem as we began our meetings with clinicians and administrators at all of Maine’s hospitals. In particular, we learned of one community’s proactive community response to the problem and reached out to the experts in that community for their input.
One Maine-based expert who helped us better understand the bath salts problem was Dan Johnson, PhD, who was education director at Eastern Maine Healthcare System’s Acadia Hospital in Bangor. We learned that the problem began in the Penobscot County region and quickly spread east and south. Lunder-Dineen sought Dr. Johnson’s assistance and he made introductions to key experts from Acadia Hospital and Eastern Maine Medical Center, along with faculty from Bangor Health and Community Services, and the Bangor Police Department.
The experts shared their proactive community response to this growing problem in Maine, and their successful, clinically based interventions. Lunder-Dineen recorded, produced and distributed a webinar to begin disseminating best practices for dealing with the bath salts problem to Maine’s larger health care community. The webinar offers CME/CE credits and is accessible in on-demand format at any time. As of April 2014, more than 350 interdisciplinary providers have participated.
As a complement to the webinar, Lunder-Dineen developed a comprehensive Bath Salts Pocket Guide that was distributed to more than 5,000 EMTs, paramedics, and emergency-medicine clinicians across Maine in October 2013. Following the initial distribution of the pocket guides, we received several enthusiastic requests for additional guides from health care professionals in various regions of the state. We also simultaneously produced a consumer-focused infographic that highlights statistics, background information and other health-related guidance about bath salts abuse.
Overall, the education was well received statewide. Tyler Stoliker, an emergency nurse at the Northern Maine Medical Center, took part in the webinar and shared with us that the course helped to better prepare him for the rising incidences of bath salt use in his area.