Designer drugs such as plant food and bath salts cause users to suffer medical emergencies, according to detectives with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.
Both the plant food and bath salts are legal to possess but illegal to manufacture or offer to sell or sell under state law, Detective Lt. Egon Grissom of the Special Enforcement Bureau explained to members of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Citizens Academy.
The package states the product is not for human consumption but users smoke, snort or eat it. The effects of both drugs are dangerous.
With plant food, the 24-hour to 48-hour high is similar to the illegal drug Ecstasy that gives users a sense of euphoria, paranoia, agitations and delusions. Bath salts are worse than plant food and comparable to cocaine, methamphetamine and PCP, Grissom said.
“Bath salts make people absolutely psychotic,” Grissom said. “People are cutting their own throats over this stuff. The Tennessee Poison Control Center reports a significant number of calls of people high on plant food or bath salts. Because of this stuff, there are people who are being put in hospitals daily.”
Plant food is packaged in capsules for $15 to $25 a capsule and not sold in garden stores.
“Who is their right mind would pay $25 to put one pill in plants?” Grissom asked, explaining how the drug is marketed as plant food.
K3 is another name for synthetic marijuana sold as incense.
He urged the citizens to boycott shops selling the plant food and bath salts because, “basically, they’re selling drugs.”
Grissom and his staff of six detectives joined other Murfreesboro, Smyrna and La Vergne police officers and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in September to remove the product from Rutherford County stores.
Besides the designer drugs, the narcotics team investigates other drug-related crimes in the county of 262,000 citizens. They gather information from citizens, confidential informants, other agencies and their own undercover work to “get as many drugs as possible off the streets and drug dealers in jail.”
Grissom witnessed a dealer stop in the middle of the road sell heroin.
“Drug deals happen every day in this county,” Grissom said. “It’s all about the money. You can buy as long as you have the money.”
Narcotics detectives average about 100 search warrants a year where they thoroughly search suspected dealers’ homes for drugs. They have found drugs hidden in products disguised as soft drink cans, Ajax cans and snack canisters. He showed the citizens some of the products.
“We have literally opened up walls and found kilos of cocaine,” Grissom said.
One of their most successful operations was taking off the streets 27 kilos of cocaine valued at $473,000.
When the division seizes cash from drug dealers, the money is deposited into a drug fund to pay for more operations and supplement the sheriff’s office budget to “fight the war on (illegal drugs) crimes.”