Dangerous new drug trend called 'wasping' reportedly on rise in US
Per West Virginia State Police, drug users are turning to wasp killer spray as a cheap alternative to meth.
Law enforcement officials believe that the insect killer was responsible for three overdoses in Boone County last week. Speaking to WCHS-TV on Friday, police said that they have observed a worrying uptick in the trend, which they dubbed "wasping".
Sgt. Charles Sutphin told the publication: "We're seeing this here on the streets in Boone County. People are making synthetic type methamphetamine out of wasp spray."
"From what we're being told, if you use it, you know, you might use it one or twice and be fine, but the third time when your body hits that allergic reaction, it can kill you," he continued.
The physical effects of using the "drug" are erratic behavior and extreme swelling and redness of the extremities.
According to ABC News, whether it's used in conjunction with meth or by itself - wasp spray is said to give users a "rush", "feelings of déjà vu" and a heightened sense of smell. A popular use of the pesticide is to spray it onto meth and a wire screen, connect it to a battery charger to crystallize it, and then melt it down to shoot into your veins. This method of ingestion is known as a "hot shot".
The active ingredient in bug sprays is a class of molecules known as pytheroids, which are deadly to insects. When consumed by a human, they are known to block normal nerve signaling, cause unusual sensations, and in the most extreme cases, they have causes seizures or paralysis.
"It's a cheap fix, and you don't know what their overall result of their usage of this is going to be," Sutphin added.
Now, the challenge is to prevent people from using the low-cost product, which can be bought in most convenience stores. Certainly, shops in Boone County purportedly sold 30 cans of the spray last Friday alone.
Law enforcement in the West Virginian state are liaising with poison control and local medical centers about the best available treatments, and they will potentially be sharing this information with agencies nationwide.
In my opinion, drugs are so bad around here. It's so available to people, and then all the time trying things new that we wouldn't even think about," Boone County resident, Diana Ferguson commented.