Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.“Meth-gator” (noun): an alligator on meth. Cops in Tennessee are warning that flushing drugs down the toilet could create them.During a recent drug bust, police officers in the town of Loretto found their suspect trying to flush methamphetamines down the toilet. That led them to issue an important warning on Facebook on Saturday: The drugs end up in retention ponds where the water is filtered before it's sent downstream. They also noted that the best way to dispose of drugs is to bring them to City Hall.
“Ducks, geese, and other fowl frequent our treatment ponds, and we shudder to think what one all hyped up on meth would do,” read the post from Loretto Police Department. “Furthermore, if it made it far enough, we could create meth-gators in Shoal Creek and the Tennessee River down in North Alabama.There are no documented cases of an alligator getting high on methamphetamines, and the cops in Tennessee didn’t cite one. Reasonably, no one appears to have tried to give a gator drugs.“I’ve never heard of such a thing. I would think that by the time it got into the water system, it would get pretty damn diluted,” said Jim Nesci, a wildlife educator who works with alligators. “Plus, gators are pretty damn tough, I’ll tell ya. Two hundred and twenty million years, it’s a living dinosaur.”That said, drugs making their way into waterways is a documented problem. Fish in the Niagara River, which connects to the Great Lakes, have been found to have antidepressants in their brains. That does seem to be making them a little happier — but also more likely to be eaten, and it could trigger the decline of fish populations.And scientists in the U.K. also recently found trace levels of cocaine and other toxins in shrimp (but not enough to get you high from eating them).The Tennessee cops’ Facebook post, to be fair, was somewhat tongue-in-cheek: “On a more or less serious note: Folks… please don’t flush your drugs m’kay,” the post read. "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.”
The Tennessee cops did, however, make a subtle reference to the Alabamian “attack squirrel,” named Deeznutz, whose owner had been feeding it meth to “keep it aggressive,” according to a sheriff’s spokesperson.The Internet reacted as the Internet does.
The local Loretto library even got in on the joke. “Meth gators are not allowed in the library, unless they are registered service meth gators,” the library’s Facebook account posted in a comment on the cops’ post. “Documentation may be required.”Cover image: An alligator is viewed in a pond at Gatorland Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, in Kissimmee, Fla. (Phelan M. Ebenhack via AP)