Yeah, that’s really smart: Some people are smoking drugs laced with bug spray for an extra high
06/05/2018 // David Williams // Views

In an effort to get a more potent high, drug addicts in Indianapolis, Indiana are now reportedly turning to street drugs that are laced with bug spray. As Indianapolis Star reports, typical drugs such as marijuana, tobacco, synthetic cannabinoids, and even banana leaves could be among the types of drugs that are now made available after being soaked in bug spray. And people are buying them, for some reason.

It is said that the drugs that have been laced with bug spray can send those who take them into an "unresponsive stupor" that could last as long as 45 minutes.

Pretty much any number of different drugs can be "enhanced" through the method of adding bug spray to the likes of KD, Katie, and Zombie, which are some of the most popular names of street drugs in Indianapolis. According to Scott Lebherz, an Indianapolis firefighter, one needs only to look at the effects of bug spray on actual insects to have an idea of what it does to the humans that take them.

"You look at what it does to a bug," he said, "and then you got to think what it's doing to your brain, and your body and everything else." (Related: Bug spray chemical can build up in your home and cause dizziness and brain function problems, scientists find.)

Based on online reports, it appears that there may be certain ingredients in bug spray that could be contributing to the enhanced effects sought after by drug users when they are laced with actual drugs. There are active ingredients found in most household bug sprays called pyrethroids, and these can directly affect the nervous system.


According to Dr. Daniel Rusyniak, the medical director of the Indiana Poison Center, pyrethrins – which are structurally similar to pyrethroids – can kill insects due to their interference with nervous system signaling. In an interview with the science news website, he shared some details regarding this.

"The way pyrethroids work is they keep the firing going, so that the nerve doesn't really recover," explained Rusyniak. "They do so by opening up what we call sodium channels on the nerves. So, you just get repetitive-type firing."

Rusyniak added that an insect that is exposed to pyrethroids could eventually become paralyzed and then die. And while lethal doses for insects typically won't affect humans, if the dose becomes high enough, it's possible for them to affect the human nervous system.

Some of the symptoms in humans are not that different from those of the insects. That means humans would also feel the effects of excessive nerve firing, such as numbness and tingling, and at ever higher doses, they could even end up going through convulsion-like activities, like twitching and tremors. In the worst case scenario, people could have seizures or fall into a coma.

Clearly, nothing good can come out of the act of smoking or taking drugs that are laced with bug spray. So why do people do it? Rusyniak found a justification for this by saying that "some people are just looking for another high, another chemical or drug to cause intoxication," and he's got a point. Although it may sound irrational to non-drug users, there is a desperation that takes hold when you have become addicted, which leads you to do things that you wouldn't otherwise do.

As for the bug-spray-enhanced drugs, there is some doubt as to whether they exist in the first place. The dealer might just be pretending to mix bug spray to try and make their products that more exotic. Besides, it is said that it would take a lot of bug spray to make them have an effect, which means they might not be cost-effective for the dealers. One could hope that this is the case, and people aren't really smoking drugs that have been laced with bug spray. It's certainly a nice thought, until you remember that people have been smoking much, much worse things for a long time, and will likely continue to do so indefinitely.

Read more about the perils of substance abuse in

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