Monday, February 14, 2011

Hospital Warns Parents of New Drug In Area

Local agencies in Putnam County are now teaming together in an effort to get word out to parents in the community about a dangerous drug that is sold as “plant food” and “bath salts” and can be purchased at convenience stores, smoke shops and novelty stores. Officials at Cookeville Regional Medical Center say that because it is easily purchased and, for the moment, remains legal in the state of Tennessee, many people may think that it is not dangerous. However, officials say it has caused some local teens and adults to be hospitalized in critical condition and some have experienced long-lasting effects still present after discharge from the hospital. They say that while many of the effects of this new drug are unknown, it is known that there is potential for long-term neurological effects including brain damage or even death.

The drug in these products is new and is called mephedrone, or 4-methyl methcathinone. Tagged as “designer drugs,” these products are sold as a household product and have “not for human consumption” listed on their packaging. But officials say the chemical make-up of these products makes them useless for the advertised purpose. They say persons taking these drugs may seem very happy and have a greater willingness to talk than usual. Users may appear calm and under control and then may suddenly change without warning and be easily agitated and aggressive.

Users will typically have a very fast heart rate, large pupils in their eyes and may experience insomnia, going for prolonged periods without sleep. They may even experience “worm-like” body movements and high body temperatures. If you find yourself dealing with someone using this drug, you should call 911 immediately. Parents are encouraged to speak with their children about the dangers of the drug. And local residents are encouraged to contact their senators and representatives to show support in favor of banning these substances in the state of Tennessee.