GRAVEL, a highly addictive synthetic stimulant is an emerging drug of abuse similar to the cathinone known as bath salts. While the primary component of GRAVEL is alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-PVP), it is often used in combination with other drugs. Seizures of the drug have also been found to contain methamphetamine, Klonopin and bath salts. The Drug Enforcement Administration lists alpha-PVP as a Schedule I controlled substance analog, similar to other synthetic drugs like bath salts. Law enforcement testing confirms that rat poison and ammonium nitrate are also utilized to dilute the alpha-PVP.
Law enforcement officials report that mail delivery systems are used for the transportation and distribution of alpha-PVP in bulk quantities. Police in Kingsport, Tennessee have seized alpha-PVP labeled as “plant fertilizer” with no other markings. Sources indicate that local dealers in the state of Tennessee are diluting the alpha-PVP with ammonia and other drugs to produce the rock-like substance sold as GRAVEL on the street.
GRAVEL is found in a form similar to small rocks or pieces of salt and can be injected or smoked. Short-term effects of GRAVEL abuse are increased blood pressure, elevated heart rate, violence, paranoia, hallucinations and brain damage. GRAVEL is relatively new and therefore long term effects have not been documented. Law enforcement officials have reported a high propensity for property crime by abusers.
Physicians have reported a serious deterioration in physical appearance after consistent abuse of the drug. The injection of GRAVEL can result in the deterioration of the tissue in and around the injection site leaving gaping holes in the body tissue that can be inches deep.
The Kingsport, Tennessee Police Department and the Sullivan County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office have reported approximately 20 incidents involving GRAVEL in the past year.
In August 2013, Sullivan County, Tennessee Sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic disturbance at an apartment complex. A man, who had reportedly taken GRAVEL and appeared paranoid, became enraged with his girlfriend claiming she had him under surveillance. Other reports of erratic behavior have been linked to GRAVEL abuse in the Kingsport, Tennessee area.
In November 2013, Washington County, Tennessee officials conducted a traffic stop that resulted in the seizure of 6 bags of GRAVEL.
Sources: Drug Enforcement Administration, GC HIDTA BLOC Watch Center, Kingsport, Tennessee Police Department, Sullivan County Tennessee Sheriff’s Office.