The signs are hard to miss.
“Their movements are slow and lethargic, a lot of drooling and a loss of function,” Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Chris Major told CBS4. “We find them with their clothes off, eating the grass, pulling dirt out of the ground and trying to put it in their mouth.”
He’s talking about KD, or the street name for a substance like marijuana or tobacco that is laced with bug spray, according to the Indianapolis Star. A bag only costs about $20, firefighter Scott Lebherz told the newspaper, and comes with a 45-minute high.
First responders in Indianapolis say they are seeing an increase in overdoses on the dangerous mixture, according to CBS4. That includes Major, who said that his team once responded to around 12 calls for overdoses on KD in a single day.
Major told CBS4 that people who are high on the bug spray fall into a zombie-like state. They can’t really speak, he said.
According to ABC Action News, other symptoms of someone high on KD include being unable to walk, being unable to breathe, struggling to speak, being in a catatonic state, vomiting, dizziness and a severe headache.
Dr. Daniel Rusyniak, director of the Indiana Poison Center at Indiana University Health, has a few theories for why there is a rising use of bug spray to get high. You can legally buy bug spray at a store or online, he told ABC, and those who use it can’t get caught with a drug test.
That means parents can’t rely on a test kit to keep their child away from drugs, he said.
“If you think, ‘Well my school is doing drug testing so I don’t have to worry about my kid,’ well, some of the drug testings may steer kids into using a lot more of these synthetic type drugs because they’re not detected,” he told ABC.
There have been reports of people using bug spray to get high outside of Indiana, too.
Police in one Mississippi county have talked about the rising use of “hotshots,” or a wire mesh sprayed with wasp poison and heated with a battery charger before it is injected into a person’s veins. Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell told NewsMS in July that “this is a trend that’s just started.”
He explained the drug’s scary effects.
“A person will stand at a jail cell door, slobber like a mad dog, wanting to fight,” he told NewsMS. “Everything is wrong, Nothing is right for one minute, then calm down and be just like a normal human being and then go right back into a rage.”
And in Tennessee, police say a 35-year-old man high on “wasp” — a mix of meth and bug spray — broke into a stranger’s house, tried to slash his own throat in front of a family of five and then climbed a tree naked. According to NBC26, police arrested Danny Hollis Jr., who said he doesn’t remember anything that happened.