Police in America are warning against a dangerous new drug trend, which has seen people using wasp spray as an alternative to meth.
West Virginia State Police believe this new trend, known as ‘wasping,’ played a part in three separate overdoses within the last week in Boone County.
On Friday (July 12) alone, stores in the county reported selling nearly 30 cans of the spray with police saying there has been a definite uptake in the number of people abusing the bug killer.
Sgt. Charles Sutphin told WCHS-TV the wasp spray is being used as a ‘cheap fix’ and will give similar effects to crystal meth.
We’re seeing this here on the streets in Boone County. People are making a synthetic type methamphetamine out of wasp spray.
When used as a meth substitute, the wasp spray has been reported by users to generate a ‘rush’, feelings of déjà vu and a hallucinatory sense of smell, ABC News reports.
Users either spray the liquid onto a methamphetamine, or crystallise the liquid using hot metal sheets which allows the finished product to be inhaled or injected.
Sgt. Sutphin warned potential users that the drug can cause physical and mental effects such as erratic behaviour and extreme swelling and redness of the hands and feet.
From what we’re being told, if you use it, 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.
These are only the short-term effects; Sutphin said it’s hard to know what the overall, long-term result of the wasp spray usage is going to be.
Police warned the challenge is now how to treat these symptoms and prevent the use of this dangerous – but legal – drug alternative.
Local resident Diana Ferguson said the drug problem in her area is ‘so bad’ because it’s ‘so available’.
We have great grand babies, and to think what they’re going to grow up in, and what’s going to be available to them, and what people are going to get them to try… It’s really scary.
State Police in Boone County are working closely with poison control and local health centres to determine the best treatment for someone using wasp spray as a drug.
They are also in the process of getting this information out to other local authorities in West Virginia and also potentially nationwide.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).