Spurlock: ‘no more gas station dope’

Published 6:19 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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Dan Spurlock, director of Stand in the Gap Coalition, is urging the Claiborne County Commission to adopt a resolution denying the sales and issuance of use permits for ‘legal’ synthetic drugs. These CBD and THC laced items are currently being sold ‘over the counter’ at convenience stores inside the county.

Known as ‘gas station dope,’ Spurlock says the products are easily available due to the stores’ designations as a dispensing center.

Spurlock drove down nearly every road to survey gas stations actively selling the products. He says he found the pseudo drugs and vapes easily accessible for adults, for which they are intended. However, he said there is no guarantee of safety for the children and teens in the residence once purchased and taken home.

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You must be 21 years of age to purchase alcohol and/or tobacco. You must also be at least 21 years old to even enter a dispensing site, he said.

“It gets confusing. People have a non-harmful perception about these products. Nobody knows for sure what is in a vape but they do carry a nicotine-based source which is addictive. Kids swap and trade these among themselves,” said Spurlock, who did a show-and-tell of a few items from his stash.

He compared a regular Cheetos brand snack bag to a Cheetos bag laced with 600 grams worth of THC, which is the base ingredient of marijuana. He then compared a regular 325 mg. aspirin to the contents of the laced Cheetos bag.

“Two of these aspirin won’t affect you. If you sit and eat (the THC bag of Cheetos) in one setting, don’t worry about going to work tomorrow. Don’t worry about staying out of the bathroom. Don’t worry about being really agitated and upset. It will happen. It was meant to take in parcels.”

Spurlock then painted a verbal picture of just what might happen in a typical household if a child were somehow able to access the THC-laced bag.

The dad stops at a gas station on his way home from work. He gets gas, picks up an energy drink and a couple of the bags. The only noticeable difference in the laced bag is a stamp cautioning the addition of a delta 8 product, which works as a booster. And, the price differences of course.

He comes home, distracted for a moment he throws the two bags of Cheetos he just purchased on the dining room table and goes out and starts mowing the grass. Meanwhile, mom is inside making dinner with active four, six and nine year olds.

Dad comes in to witness mom hollering and his four year old child “laying out” on the dining room floor.

While both parents were momentarily distracted, the little girl discovers the Cheetos and consumes the entire bag. She is now comatose.

Spurlock then showed a 1,000 puff vape he purchased at one of the gas stations. The vape is to be used for “non-tobacco synthetic nicotine products.”

On the back, Spurlock reads a stamp that states “sells only allowed in U.S. Manufactured in China.”

A third product encased in a plastic bag about the size of a candy bar contains 600 mg of CBD. The warning label, printed in a corner of the bag, reads “for medical use only. Keep out of reach of children and animals.”

Spurlock continued his scenario of the typical family unit. The four year old, he says, sees a brother or an uncle vaping. She decides to try it out, picks the instrument up and takes a puff. She decides to consume the entire 1,000 puffs and suffers toxic nicotine overdose.

Another product purchased during his survey trip contains 600 THC laced within gummy bears.

“There is no FDA oversight on any of these products. They’re legal because they have less than .3 percent THC content. That’s the way it’s marketed. Depending on the amount you take and if you take it together with a vape, you have a legal process of getting very high. Are you good to drive on the road?”

Spurlock said a significant number of states across the nation are seeing county governments using the legal system to prevent the sale of these and other types of “legal” gas station dope.

“Particularly in New York, a county has stood up and said ‘we say no, it won’t be sold in this county’ and they’ve found a vehicle by which they can do that.”

Stand in the Gap Coalition has the blessings of the state of Tennessee to address this any other addictive issues.

“We’re here for you. We’re working for you. And, we have the resources. Say ‘no’ to gas station dope,” said Spurlock.

The Coalition will be holding its next Town Hall Meeting on June 16 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. addressing the topics of families, addictions and resources. The panel discussion meeting will be held inside the Walters State Community College –Tazewell campus auditorium.