Law enforcement agencies often put out public service announcements to their communities to advise them on safety-related matters, but the recent advice from a police department in Tennessee about the disposal of illicit drugs down the toilet was a little more ominous than a typical anti-drug PSA.
The Loretta Police Department, who serve a small community in south-central Tennessee just north of the Alabama border, posted to Facebook one of the usual summaries of a drug bust replete with a description and photo of the illicit contraband seized from a suspect.
In this case, the suspect had been caught in the process of attempting to flush down his toilet “12 grams of Methamphetamine, 24 fluid ounces of liquid meth, and several items of paraphernalia” as police entered his home to execute a search warrant.
The suspect was arrested and transported to jail, but the announcement from the Loretta Police Department took a turn for the bizarre into a world filled with meth-addled animals including alligators wreaking havoc on communities and the environment.
The post from the police said, “On a more or less serious note: Folks … please don’t flush your drugs m’kay.”
“When you send something down the sewer pipe it ends up in our retention ponds for processing before it is sent downstream. Now our sewer guys take great pride in releasing water that is cleaner than what is in the creek, but they are not really prepared for meth.”
“Ducks, Geese, and other fowl frequent our treatment ponds and we shudder to think what one all hyped up on meth would do. Furthermore, if it made it far enough we could create meth-gators in Shoal Creek and the Tennessee River down in North Alabama,” the PSA noted.
“They’ve had enough methed up animals the past few weeks without our help. So, if you need to dispose of your drugs just give us a call and we will make sure they are disposed of in the proper way,” the police announcement added.
The post concluded by noting that anybody who was aware of drug use and abuse in the community should notify the proper authorities at the police department or in the local government.
The message was also edited to add that prescription pills counted as “drugs” that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet but disposed of properly.
There is a valid concern about wild animals ingesting dangerous drugs that have been flushed down the toilet through the sewer system to eventually enter creeks, streams, rivers and lakes.
Whether the Loretta Police Department was being entirely serious or a bit tongue-in-cheek with the reference to “meth-gators” is unclear. It’s OK to chuckle a bit at the thought, even though a methed-up gator could be terrifying if confronted in person.
Methamphetamines are a scourge upon society that can have destructive effects on humans who become addicted. One can only imagine the effects those drugs would have on a much smaller animal — or even the average-sized gator — with dramatically different internal biologies and metabolisms.
So go ahead and laugh for a moment about meth-addled gators (there are probably some good University of Florida jokes to be made, considering this was in the heart of SEC country) but by all means, take the warning from the police seriously.
Don’t flush illicit or prescription drugs down the toilet: there is no telling where they might end up or what impact those chemicals may have on the ecosystem.
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