Recent arrests raise concerns about synthetic drug 'gravel'

Recent arrests in Hawkins County raise concerns about synthetic drug 'gravel'

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Deputies say "gravel" is small and crystal-like. Deputies say "gravel" is small and crystal-like.
"Looks like salt. It comes in different colors. Most of the stuff that we're seeing is, what you can say, powder form," said Allen. "Looks like salt. It comes in different colors. Most of the stuff that we're seeing is, what you can say, powder form," said Allen.
One of the most dangerous things I've seen in the 15 years of ER medicine I've been doing. Probably the most dangerous drug I've ever seen," said Dr. Jon Mettert. One of the most dangerous things I've seen in the 15 years of ER medicine I've been doing. Probably the most dangerous drug I've ever seen," said Dr. Jon Mettert.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

ROGERSVILLE (WATE) - More arrests involving the synthetic drug called "gravel" are sparking concerns that this drug trend is growing.

Hawkins County deputies arrested six people in Church Hill last weekend after they were allegedly discovered with "gravel" along with evidence of drug sales. The arrests are just the latest in synthetic drug crimes.

The Hawkins County Sheriff's Office answered our questions about what the drug is and where it's coming from.

Deputies say "gravel" is small and crystal-like.

"Looks like salt. It comes in different colors. Most of the stuff that we're seeing is, what you can say, powder form," said Allen.

This drug is starting to sweep through the county and it's coming from out of state.

"Most of it is just mail ordered, or being transported in by vehicle, or shipped in," he said.

The legislation making it illegal in Tennessee is helping. At Holston Valley Medical Center, doctors say "gravel" is a combination drug of meth, Klonopin and bath salts. It's also highly addictive.

So what can it do to the body? Doctors told us gravel damages the brain, raises the blood pressure and spikes the heart rate.

"The real bad side effect of taking at the doses most people take it in is the paranoia. We've actually seen people become paranoid. People committing suicide from the paranoia," said emergency room physician Dr. Jon Mettert.

That's why deputies, doctors and nurses are working to train the community before things get worse.

"Very, very dangerous. One of the most dangerous things I've seen in the 15 years of ER medicine I've been doing. Probably the most dangerous drug I've ever seen," said Dr. Mettert.

6 News also reached out to the Knoxville Police Department to see if their officers have encountered any "gravel" activity.

A spokesperson says there have not been any "gravel" related arrests yet.

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