You remember flakka. You remember bath salts. Now, from the teenagers who brought you the tide pod craze, they introduce, BUG SPRAY. That’s right folks, teenagers have decided tide pods weren’t dangerous enough and began spraying their drugs with bug spray. The effects of smoking such substances have been the result of seizures, paralysis, and even death, in extreme cases.


Responders like Captain Major, of the Indianapolis Fire Department, have stated that, once on scene to treat the patient, those affected by the drugs are “Kind of like a zombie. We started describing it like zombie-like, where they might be eating the grass that they’re lying in or they are tearing at their clothes.” Though the fad is mostly contained in the east side of Indianapolis, people, still, are being treated all over the states for harm from synthetic drugs.


Dr. Daniel Rusyniak, the Director of the Indiana Poison Center at UI Health, says a large problem is the accessibility of such drugs. He says, “They no longer have to drive to a shady street corner. They can get it on the internet and they can order this and it can be delivered to their house by Amazon.”


In the majority of household bug sprays, the active ingredients are pyrethroids, which are natural insecticides that kill insects by interfering with the nervous system signaling. Your brain communicates with the rest of your body by signals, sent, by way of your nerves. Once the brain has sent its messages by way of electrical signal, the nerve stops firing so it can recover and fire again when the brain sees fit. Rusyniak explains, “The way pyrethroids work is they keep the firing going, so that the nerve doesn’t really recover.  They do so by opening up what we call sodium channels on the nerves. So, you just get repetitive-type firing.”


The ‘repetitive-type firing’ of the nerves is what paralyses and eventually kills insects, and has similar effects in humans. “At high doses, they will affect the human nervous system.” Rusyniak warned. Some symptoms of the smoking include, but are not limited to:



  • Catatonic state
  • Severe headache
  • Unable to breathe
  • Unable to speak
  • Unable to walk
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions and tremors
  • Fall into a coma



Rusyniak sympathises, “Some people are just looking for another high, another chemical or drug to cause intoxication. It sounds very irrational to us…. [but] in many ways, it shows the desperation and power of addiction that it would lead people to do things like potentially smoking bug spray.”


In all reality, it is terribly sad, to risk one’s life and/or health to chase that next high. We hope this new fad dies down before anyone else is hurt or loses their life.