A rise in overdose cases due to the addition of bug spray to the street drug ‘KD’ (also known as ‘Katie’) has Indianapolis authorities on high alert. 

KD is a cheap street drug made to be smoked. According to the IndyStar, it commonly consists of spice, marijuana, tobacco, and banana leaves. The latest overdose cases have found the drug laced with bug spray. “They’ve taken synthetic marijuana and they’re spraying it now with Raid, bug spray, roach spray,  letting it dry and then smoking it,” Indianapolis firefighter Scott Lebherz told the IndyStar.

Bug sprays contain pyrethroids, ion channel toxins that prolong neuronal excitation, but are not directly cytotoxic. Systemic poisoning can produce symptoms of reflex hyperexcitability, fine tremor, salivation, hyperexcitability, choreoathetosis, and seizures. In a 2014 case published in Case Reports in Psychiatry, a male who smoked crystallized roach killer claimed the experience produced a ‘rush’ similar to the one he experienced with methamphetamine. 

Regarding the effects of the drug, Indianapolis Fire Department Captain, Chris Major said, “Their movements are slow, lethargic, a lot of drooling, kind of a loss of function overall. We find them with their clothes off […] eating the grass, pulling dirt out of the ground and trying to put it in their mouth.”

The Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services have responded to dozens of KD-related overdose calls since January. On March 1, Indianapolis police announced that they had made 4 arrests and confiscated 10 pounds of synthetic marijuana, found in connection to the overdoses. 

Similar practices of cutting drugs with bug spray have been reported in Tennessee and Mississippi. 

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