Joel Reece, head of the Knoxville office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said that roughly 40 percent of methamphetamine busts in the past year have been methcathinone, but it is almost exclusively restricted to East Tennessee.
"We don't see much (around the state)," Reece
said."They haven't found any in Nashville."
A reason for the drug's sudden popularity in East Tennessee, Reece
says, is partly due to people moving to Tennessee from parts of the country where the drug is popular.A University of Michigan student first made methcathinone in 1989 after he found ingredients for the drug while he was on an internship for a major drug company.
Soon afterwards, the drug became a popular recreational drug in Ohio and Michigan and is now spreading to other parts of the country due to people moving and due to manufacturers being able to easily find instructions on how to make the drug on the Internet.
In 1992, the U.S. government classified methcathinone as a Schedule I drug. Reece
said the first people caught with methcathinone in Tennessee were caught last year, and they were from Ohio.
Most of those who are caught learn the recipe for methcathinone first, and then keep making it instead of switching to methamphetamine, he
"There's not a lot of variety in that business," Reece
"It's certainly not an inner-city or urban problem," Reece
"It is a significant problem," Reece