West Virginia State Police said residents have begun using wasp spray as an alternative form of meth, and that the new drug contributed to three recent overdoses.
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Police told WCHS-TV Monday that they're seeing an uptick in the drug trend.
"We're seeing this here on the streets in Boone County," Sgt. Charles Sutphin said. "People are making a synthetic type methamphetamine out of wasp spray."
Wasp spray can be abused with methamphetamine or by itself to generate a "rush," feelings of deja vu and a hallucinatory sense of smell, according to a 2018 ABC News report. It can be sprayed onto meth or crystallized on hot metal sheets to be inhaled or injected.
The drug is most dangerous when it's inhaled.
The active ingredient in pesticides is a class of molecules known as pytheroids, ABC News reported. This is deadly to insects. In humans, pytheroids block normal nerve signaling and cause abnormal sensations. In worse cases, they cause seizures or paralysis.
"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," Sutphin said.
Wasp spray played a role in at least three recent overdoses in Boone County, West Virginia, police said. On Friday, stores in the area reported selling nearly 30 cans of the spray.
State police are working to determine the best treatment for wasp spray and to inform the public of this trend.