Young People are Now Abusing…Bug Spray?

Bug Spray Abuse

This could be one for the history books of just what drug users will go through to get a fix. Though it has not yet become a nationwide epidemic like other drug problems are, there have been many reported cases coming in across the nation of people abusing bug sprays to get high. Yes. You read that correctly. People are consuming the foamy, acrid-smelling spray we use to take down wasp nests, facing all the risks and dangers that come along with that, all just to get high.

Reports first came in from Indianapolis, Indiana, where authorities were concerned about young people who were taking “KD” a synthetic drug laced with bug spray. According to Indianapolis officials who had come across people high on KD, the users were akin to zombies; unable to speak, lethargic and slow, but prone to agitation and attack. Before Indianapolis law enforcement could complete a full report replete with toxicology scans, other, similar reports from different locations across the country started coming in of similar drug use.

How KD Abuse Came to Be

The active ingredient in bug spray that gets people high are the pyrethroids that come standard in any aerosol bug spray. Pyrethroids are a type of insecticide used in over three thousand different registered and approved products. While pyrethroids are not found in bug deterrent sprays (the kind one would use to keep the mosquitos off) such insecticides are found in large cans of aerosol for use in destroying wasp nests, ant hives, or other insects.

To create the “perfect high” users will combine pyrethroid-rich bug spray with marijuana or tobacco and smoke it. This can be as easy as spraying “Raid” or some other bug-killer spray on tobacco or marijuana, then rolling the tobacco or marijuana up and smoking it. As simple as it is to use the substance, the effects of it are very complicated and unpleasant.

Man feel dizzy - Bug Spray effect

When people abuse “KD” (the name given tobacco or marijuana products that have been laced with bug spray) they lose much of their bodily function. Their breathing can slow or stop, as can their heart rate. They will often appear zombified and even catatonic. They are sometimes found with their clothes off, eating grass, putting dirt in their mouths, or otherwise terrorizing people.

Risks Associated with KD Abuse

Some of the problems law enforcement and medical responders now face are that, because KD is a synthetic drug, it cannot be detected in drug tests. Barring the physiological manifestations of the drug, if a medical responder was attending to a KD user and did not know the user was on KD from some other sign, even a thorough medical examination would not pick it up. This can delay medical response and can cost lives.

Another factor is the ease of access people have to the drug. Anyone can go to the store and buy some Raid, and just about anyone can get access to marijuana or cigarettes. Even children can order Raid or other bug killers online and have it shipped to their front door through Amazon.

The Epitome of “Creative Drug Use”

Young people are at the epicenter of “creative drug use.” Young people are abusing drugs and alcohol with growing consistency, and they tend to become more creative with drugs as each year goes by. This new trend of “KD” with bug spray and tobacco or marijuana products is a great example of that.

Young people need to be taught why they should stay away from drugs. They need to be educated on the negative effects of drug use and what is at stake here. Most young people abuse drugs like KD because they are peer pressured into doing so. They usually have no idea what is at stake. Through prevention, education, community effort, and household effort, we can change that.




After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.