Meth-gators: Tennessee Police Ask Residents to Stop Flushing Drugs Down the Toilet—'Enough Methed up Animals'

Over the weekend, police in Tennessee asked locals not to flush their drugs down the toilet for fear of turning alligators into "meth-gators."

After officers witnessed a suspect try and dispose of methamphetamine in a lavatory, the Loretto Police Department warned residents on social media that such actions could create "methed up animals," CNN reported.

Police shared the advice on Facebook, writing: "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. They've had enough methed up animals the past few weeks without our help."

Police said they can destroy any drugs safely—without putting critters at risk.

Meth, Alligator
File photo: An alligator is pictured. A Tennessee police department recently warned residents not to flush drugs down the toilet as they may affect animals. Getty

Scientists think that drugs flushed down the toilet could be making their way into the environment and affecting animal populations, The Guardian previously noted.

Studies published in a 2014 special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B showed contamination from pharmaceuticals may impact a number of animals. Some fish may be affected by lingering traces of birth control pills, and some birds' feeding habits may change after exposure to a common antidepressant, for example.

Scientists have recently found Illicit drugs and other pharmaceuticals in shellfish. A group of researchers found cocaine, ketamine and tramadol, an opioid medication, in the U.K.'s shrimp. They published their research in the journal Environment International. The team think the cocaine found its way into shrimp via sewer leakages or overflows.

Lead study author Thomas Miller from King's College London, commented: "Although concentrations were low, we were able to identify compounds that might be of concern to the environment and crucially, which might pose a risk to wildlife."

He added any effect of the drug contamination would likely be small in most cases.

In the U.S., scientists with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife recently found traces of an opioid medication in mussels. Researchers found oxycodone in mussels from the Seattle and Bremerton harbor areas of the Puget Sound. They also discovered traces of a chemotherapy drug.

Scientists speculated the drugs made their way into the Sound via wastewater treatment plants. Biologist Jennifer Lanksbury commented: "Hopefully our data shows what's out there and can get the process started for cleaning up our waters."