by Jeff Clemetson, Editor
By now most of you have heard the story of Rudy Eugene, the 31-year-old Miami man who was shot to death while in the act of eating another man’s face. It was reported this week that a cheap, over-the-counter substance that can be purchased in the beauty section of almost any store – bath salts – is what fueled Eugene’s “zombie” attack. That’s right, apparently the pending zombie apocalypse will not be borne from some radioactive slime or a cataclysmic virus but from an ordinary toiletry product that makes you smell good.
Bath salts, as it turns out, contain two highly toxic substances, mephedrone and methylone, that produce a dangerous high when smoked or snorted. The chemicals hype up the adrenal glands and also can produce hallucinations, which can lead to severe anxiety in an individual. The drugs also can lead to severe respiratory problems, which is the most common problem that users are sent to emergency rooms for.
As commonplace as bath salts are (there are probably some in the unopened beauty basket your cousin sent you for Christmas right now), they aren’t the only over-the-counter killer buzz that is out there.
One of the more frightening products that people use for cheap highs is aerosol electronics cleaner. Products like Dust-Off are used to spray into computers, digital cameras, DVD players and any other high-tech gizmos that accumulate oils and gook that can mess with their function. When huffed, however, it’s propellant gas stays in the lungs because it is heavier than air, blocking oxygen from entering the lungs. The lack of oxygen causes a dizzying feeling – the Dust-Off high. Lack of oxygen is extremely dangerous and there are many reports of death from asphyxiation caused by huffing electronics cleaners. If you have children that are of that curious age and you keep these products in your home, be sure to keep them locked away.
Whip cream canisters
The aerosol used to push out one of the key ingredients to an ice cream sundae contains the same gas your dentist gives you to ease the pain of drilling your teeth – nitrous oxide. If you notice that your brand new can of whip cream doesn’t pour the delicious, white topping anymore, yet feels full to the brim, then you better have a talk with your kids about huffing drugs.
Nitrous oxide is a common, relatively safe anesthesia when in the hands of a professional, but when used to excess it can cause severe health problems, even death.
Besides the whip cream cans that you buy in the store, there are also nitrous oxide canisters used by commercial chefs that are now sold in liquor stores and sex shops. These highly compressed canisters are made to be used with professional guns that spit out whip cream in a way that allows chefs to make elaborate designs on cakes. However, shady liquor stores and sex shops sell them with devises that allow the nitrous oxide to pour into balloons that are then huffed by users to get high. A recent story involving actress Dem Moore highlights the dangers of huffing nitrous balloons. Moore was hospitalized after experiencing seizure-like symptoms and lapsing into unconsciousness. Inhaling nitrous directly from a tank can also freeze the lungs.
Believe it or not, the ingredient in your spice rack that makes eggnog so tasty at Christmas is also a powerful hallucinogen. Nutmeg contains a chemical called myristicin, which when ingested in high enough doses causes hallucinations, convulsions, vomiting and even circulatory collapse. Whole nutmegs are grinded up and ingested with water. One of the major problems with nutmeg is that the line between what gets a user high and what gets a user dead is so narrow. When someone has ingested enough nutmeg to feel a buzz, he or she has also taken almost enough to cause serious health problems.
Although it is not a common household item, salvia divinorum is readily available on the Internet because it is not illegal. Salvia divinorum is a plant that grows in the cloud forest of the Sierra Mazateca range in Mexico and has been used for centuries by shamans to speak with spirits during certain ceremonies. Unfortunately, this sacred herb has been exploited and turned into a way for people to get high without respecting its divine purpose. The high from smoking dried salvia divinorum is short lasting, yet extremely powerful, causing wild hallucinations and extreme distortions of the users perceptions of time and space. Shamans who respect the plant’s abilities take the drug to communicate with spirits. However, many kids who use this drug take it and freak out with fits of paranoia and even acts of aggression, which can lead to harm to themselves or others.