News broke at the end of February about a new drug which has cropped up in the Southern United States and which is known by the name “gravel.” This new drug has been reported in around two dozen cases in Tennessee, and now task forces are in contact with law enforcement agencies around the nation to spread the word and make sure that they are prepared to be on the lookout and take action in the event that gravel starts showing up in other areas. It could be transported along drug trafficking lines, though there is an even greater risk that it might be disseminated online, as the information is shared and clandestine chemists throughout the United States begin cooking it up in their own labs and selling it on the streets. Just as law enforcement are now learning about gravel, it is also important for the rest of us — parents, educators, healthcare providers, and concerned members of the community — to have the facts. Here are five of the most important things you should know about gravel:
Gravel Is a Stimulant
The drug is manufactured from a combination of substances, more than one of which is itself a stimulant. The materials which are used to make gravel include methamphetamine and cathinones (also known as bath salts), both of which are stimulant substances, as well as ammonium nitrate and rat poison. It is a recipe which makes for a truly vicious drug.
Gravel Causes Serious Side Effects
When a person uses a stimulant, the goal is to experience feelings such as euphoria and an increased level of focus, but this also comes with serious side effects. In the case of gravel, the user is prone to experience paranoia, may suffer from high blood pressure, might develop skin lesions, and could even begin to harbor suicidal thoughts.
Gravel Can Be Used in Several Ways
The routes of administration for gravel are not limited, and the drug can be used in more ways than one. The most common ways in which gravel is used include smoking, snorting or injecting the drug. All of these carry their own unique dangers in addition to the fact of ingesting the drug; for example, intravenous use opens the door to disease transmission through needle sharing, while smoking exposes the user to the risk of inhaling carcinogens.
Gravel Can Be Highly Addictive
Given that one of the primary ingredients in gravel is methamphetamine, it is believed that the drug can be habit forming and addictive. Methamphetamine is itself a powerfully addictive drug, notorious for its deleterious effects on habitual users and for the fact that they keep harming themselves by consuming it, so strong is the grip that it holds on them. Because gravel is new on the scene, it is too early to say with certainty that it is addictive, but it would be hard to imagine this not being the case.
Gravel May Be the Next Crack
Anyone familiar with the history of drug use in the United States knows about the crack epidemic which hit in the 1980s and lasted through the early 1990s. Early news reports raise the concern that gravel could be this generation’s crack. It is easy to make, and the ingredients are relatively easy to come by, not requiring cultivation and transportation across borders. Gravel has the potential to spread like wildfire and to cause widespread damage to communities, just as was the case with crack.
How to Stop Gravel from Spreading as a Drug
Gravel certainly poses a major threat, but with effective action now at this early stage in its history it could be wiped out. If enough people raise the alarm and make sure that everyone knows just how dangerous it is, gravel come to an early end as a drug use trend. Even more than most drugs, it is essentially just poison, even using rat poison as an ingredient. Make sure that everyone you know is aware of the drug and is ready to spread the word in their turn, and we will all have a far better chance of putting the bad news behind us as a passing event.