MEMPHIS, TN - Synthetic cocaine usage is a fast-growing, highly addictive trend. Young people say their friends can't get enough of the fake coke, and it's doing a lot of damage. Eyewitness News spoke with some who've tried it, and who say they're losing their friends to this dangerous new drug.
“Bath salts” or “Charge” or “Ivory,” they’re different names for different types of cocaine substitutes. People say it looks just like cocaine, but what it does to you is even worse.
“When they hit it they just feel like they're high, on top of the world, and, when they come down, they just want more,” said one 20-year-old man who contacted us about the problem.
He was describing what happens when you're on synthetic cocaine. They call it “Charge.” He doesn't want us to show his face or use his name, but he wants people to know about a growing problem.
“I've seen crackheads, who say gotta get another rock, gotta get another rock, well, anybody on charge has gotta get another packet,” he said.
We've heard a lot lately about synthetic marijuana. But this person says his friends have moved on to fake coke.
“Now everybody's on Charge, and there's a new thing called Ivory, you don't have to do nearly as much,” the man said. “My friends that have used it, they're not the same, even after they do it they're not the same.”
He says a line or two and people will be jacked-up for hours. They keep doing it and don't sleep for days. The fake drugs don't show up on regular drug tests. A shop in Southaven was shut down for selling the stuff over the summer. Police there are cracking down.
Now, this guy says everyone is going north of the border to Memphis. Even though the substances were banned in Tennessee in July, he says you can buy it everywhere. And people need to watch out.
“It's not that I can help my friends now, but for the parents who don't know about it and may find a charge packet, and the kids like, oh, it's just something we got at the gas station, an energy packet or something like that, it's not. It's really bad, and kids who don't know about it and want to try it, they shouldn't, because it could really hurt them,” the man said.
While Southaven police are cracking down on the drug substitutes, we asked Memphis Police if they've seen much of it in the City. They said there had not been any recent incidents involving the stuff, and they don't think it's a major problem in Memphis yet.
Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas have all passed laws this year banning synthetic cocaine and marijuana.