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"Bug Spray" High: Pesticide Abuse

"Bug Spray" High: Pesticide Abuse

Insect repellents and pesticides are chemicals designed to keep away and kill bugs. What they are NOT made to do is be consumed by humans. In a relentless search for the next best high, people are inhaling and injecting pesticides in a number of combinations.

There are two main types of chemicals used in bug spray:


·         Interferes with insect neurons and receptors that detect the chemicals from our bodies and in the air we breathe out

·         Forms a vapor barrier at the skin surface that deters mosquitoes from landing on the skin. Studies show that insects exposed to DEET are not able to locate a person or animal because they cannot detect them

Permethrin affects the nervous system in insects, causing muscle spasms, paralysis, and death.

Human exposure to DEET and permethrin can cause

·         Lungs: difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing

·         Skin: Hives, redness, irritation, blisters, burning, scarring, blue lips and finger nails

·         Ears, eyes, nose and throat: burns, redness, drooling, tearing

·         Stomach: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps

·         Heart: low blood pressure. slow heartbeat

·         Nervous system: insomnia, mood changes, anxiety, weakness, disorientation, seizures, coma, death

Bug Spray High

·         Wasp: a mixture of methamphetamine (meth) and bug spray that is smoked

·         Hot Shot: a high-inducing product in which the drug creator puts the bug spray on a screen wire and hooks it up to a battery charger to heat it, which crystalizes it. It's then melted down to be shot into a person's veins

·         “KD,” “Katie,” or “Zombie”: the street name for a variety of drugs that all contain one common ingredient - bug spray

KD can come in the form of marijuana, spice, tobacco, or banana leaves laced with a dose of bug spray. When smoked, it produces a 45-minute "zombie-like high” that leaves users feeling catatonic (appearing to be in a daze or stupor).

Indianapolis Fire Department Captain Chris Major described what happens to people who smoke KD: "Their movements are slow and lethargic, a lot of drooling, and a loss of function. We find them with their clothes off, eating the grass, pulling dirt out of the ground and trying to put it in their mouth." Capt. Major said the fire department often finds people passed out with the bug spray still in their hand.

Treatment: Call 9-1-1

·         DO NOT make the person throw up unless poison control or a healthcare provider tells you to.

·         If the product is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.

·         If the person swallowed the product, give them water or milk right away, unless a provider tells you not to. Do not give anything to drink if the person has symptoms that make it hard to swallow. These include vomiting, convulsions, or a decreased level of alertness.

·         If the person breathed in the product, move them to fresh air right away.

Poison Help hotline: 1-800-222-1222

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Over-The-Counter Medication Labels: Read It

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