Odessa Shooting Raises Bath Salts Discussion

 By Jen Kastner

NewsWest 9

ODESSA - On Tuesday night 23 year-old James Creech bit a detective hard enough to draw blood, shortly after shooting 58 year-old Steven Little through the neck and then walking through an Odessa neighborhood acting dazed. Creech was later arrested.

Odessa Police Department is investigating the attack. They won't tell NewsWest 9 if Creech was using or carrying any illegal or altering substances. However, that didn't stop the comments from coming in on NewsWest 9's facebook page, where a bath salt discussion surrounding the incident ignited.

Across the nation bizarre bath salt-related episodes have people buzzing. For example, there was the New York mother suspected of using the drug who was photographed running naked through the street until she was stun-gunned to the ground. Or, the Florida man who devoured another man's face in broad daylight. Authorities suspected bath salt use all this time, although on Wednesday that was finally ruled out.

It begs the question, is the national media hype causing us to jump to conclusions about bath salts when any strange or random act is committed? Medical Center Hospital says there are a number of reasons why a person may act out-of-character.

Dr. Jeffrey Pinnow said, "Typically, with a person who is agitated or altered, illicit drug use is usually further down on the list [of what we suspect]. Primarily, we need to make sure from a medical perspective that it's not a metabolic thing such as an infection. Or, we want to be sure it's not a mental health issue. Then once we've eliminated those options we look at if it's a drug reaction or an illicit drug reaction."

However, Dr. Pinnow acknowledges that bath salt use is becoming more common in the Permian Basin. "In the past six months we have seen more cases," adds Dr Pinnow.

We asked several local young adults if their minds jump straight to bath salts when anything highly unusual now happens.

Tyler Anderson says, "It could be something psychological in their minds. You never really know about the person unless you're actually that person so you shouldn't jump to conclusions and blame it on a psychoactive drug."

Sandy O'Michael tells us, "People have issues and they deal with their issues in other ways. We just go off of the media [hype] and the fact that everyone is talking about bath salts. I don't think that it should be something that everyone jumps to conclusion on."

Bleu Hurlbert adds, "It could be the reason [someone acts strangely] but there's been other situations where it's not. You can't really point fingers claiming he was on bath salts and that's why he did that."

Little has already been released from the hospital in good condition. The investigation continues.