Cumberland Times-News

Local News

November 2, 2013

Sheriff tackles legal drug abuse issues

Anti-drug DVD will be shown at high schools

CUMBERLAND — A new, mostly locally produced DVD provides a new tool to fight synthetic marijuana and bath salts use, said Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson, who discussed and played the 15-minute DVD at Thursday’s Allegany County commission meeting.

The DVD will be shown in local schools for a start, said Robertson. The commission meeting was the first public showing of the video, Robertson said.

Dates are already set to show the video at Allegany and Fort Hill High schools, Robertson said.

Among others, the video features Robertson and Allegany County Health Officer Dr. Sue Raver.

“It is important to understand these are very potent drugs ... these are not safe,” Raver said in the DVD. The effects of the drugs can be long-term and even fatal, according to medical personnel speaking in the DVD. The drugs can cause agitation and paranoia and are not made in regulated labs and the dosages are not clear, Raver said. The drugs can be sniffed, smoked or injected, health officials have said.

The concern over the use of bath salts and synthetic marijuana and related drugs has been growing as both public health and public safety threats. A county law to attack the problem was passed last year. Many of the substances continue to be sold over the counter, especially in nearby states.

Defining synthetic marijuana can be complex, according to a report prepared by the Department of Legislative Services.

“Cannabimimetic agents, also referred to as ‘synthetic marijuana’ or ‘synthetic cannabinoids,’ are chemical substances that are not derived from the marijuana plant but are designed to affect the body in ways similar to THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Synthetic cannabinoids are typically sprayed onto plant material and marketed under names such as ‘Spice’ or ‘K2,’” the report reads.

The substances cause law enforcement difficulties, officials said.

“The popularity ... of these substances has grown in recent years, and criminal enforcement of the sale and possession of these substances has been challenging since manufacturers can elude legal bans on products by making slight changes to their chemical structures,” according to the Legislative Services report. “Keeping up with the chemists” has been a major problem with the laws on the books, Robertson said.

“Just because it’s for sale (legally) doesn’t mean it’s safe,” Robertson said.

The video was produced with the help of John Lombardi of Frostburg State University and Joe Caporale of WQZK and Brian Caporale, Robertson said. Robertson presented the trio with plaques during the commission meeting in recognition of their aid in producing the video.

Robertson also recognized Jay Culter and presented him with a citizen’s award plaque for offering a key tip that led to the arrest of two bank robbery suspects on Sept. 3. The suspects are charged in the robberies of Susquehanna Bank in LaVale on Aug. 28 and Sept. 3, Robertson said.

The arrests led to the closure of both cases.

“Many times citizens don’t want to become involved,” Robertson said. “But when they do, sometimes the results are remarkable.”

The Sept. 3  holdup at the Susquehanna Bank branch in the 900 block of National Highway marked the second robbery there in less than a week.

The suspects were identified as 47-year-old William Carl Miller Jr. of Shade Gap, Pa., and 27-year-old Chelsea Maye Morrison-Mikolajczyk of North East. Both were charged in the Sept. 3 robbery, and Miller was charged in an August robbery of the bank.

Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at

Text Only
Local News
  • W.Va. legislative candidates gearing up for election

    ROMNEY, W.Va. — Five area candidates will be vying for legislative seats in this year’s election.

    April 20, 2014

  •  Easter grass Easter grass

    Kamryn Rice, 7, of Flintstone, finds and bags a plastic egg during Cumberland’s annual Easter Egg Hunt Saturday afternoon at Constitution Park. Hosted by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, along with students from Frostburg State University’s Recreation and Parks Management program and the 4-H Youth of Allegany County, the afternoon also included games, relay races, face painting, temporary tattoos, arts and crafts, and a petting zoo sponsored by the 4-H Hare Raiser Club, as well as a visit from the Easter Bunny. The eggs contained candy and other treats.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Business community wary of minimum wage increases

    CUMBERLAND — Allegany County businesses are certain to be impacted by the increase in Maryland’s minimum wage, set to reach $10.10 an hour by July 2018 under a law championed by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

    April 20, 2014

  • Tipped workers left behind in pay hike action

    ANNAPOLIS — Many minimum wage workers will be getting a raise now that a hike to Maryland’s wage has been signed into law. But while advocates are ascribing the increase as a win, there’s a bitter aftertaste for one group that was left behind.

    April 20, 2014

  • Views vary among Americans when it comes to hourly rate

    CUMBERLAND — Even among those who have worked minimum wage jobs, views on the minimum wage can differ.
    “Minimum wage has to exist. There is no question there, so whatever it is, it will be called ‘minimum wage’. But it should not be below a living wage,” said Bonita Quick of Cumberland.

    April 20, 2014

  • Income guideline change will increase WIC recipients

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Raised income eligibility guidelines for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children will increase the number of those served in West Virginia by about 10 percent, according to the state health officer.

    April 20, 2014

  • Absentee ballots moving online causes security concerns

    ANNAPOLIS — Voters may get to skip the lines at the polls this summer by receiving and marking their ballots online, but election officials must first decide if the convenience outweighs the security risks.

    April 20, 2014

  • Allegany County emergency medical services honorees and supporters Allegany, Garrett emergency responders honored

    MCHENRY — The 75 people from Allegany and Garrett counties who were involved with two exceptional emergency medical services calls in 2013 were presented with awards at the recent Night for Stars program held at the Wisp Resort.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lexis Trickett meets with Gov. Martin O’Malley Ninth-grader among 30 at inaugural event

    OAKLAND — Lexis Trickett, a ninth-grade student at Southern Garrett High School, was among 30 girls who attended Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Leadership Forum for Women and Girls recently in Annapolis in celebration of Women’s History Month.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • School immunization requirements change

    CUMBERLAND — Changes to school immunization requirements by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene affect students entering kindergarten and seventh grade for the next school year.

    April 20, 2014

Must Read
News related video
Hundreds Gather for Denver Pot Rally on Easter Ocean Drones Making Waves in Research World Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier Raw: Crowds Rally at '420' Celebration in Denver Marathoners Celebrate Easter With Tradition Raw: Obamas Attend Easter Service Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case