Strange Trend: Teens Ingesting Embalming Fluid as Drug
The Body Odd blog on MSNBC.com reports on a bizarre trend that may be on the rise: kids soaking marijuana in formaldehyde embalming fluid, then smoking it in order to get a “higher high” than with marijuana alone:
Here’s what’s happening: People seeking an enhanced high soak marijuana joints in, in these particular cases, formaldehyde, for the secondary effects. “Embalming fluid burns more slowly than the marijuana would if it were not treated,” says Dr. Bret Nicks, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, N.C. This technique causes what can be an intense hallucinatory effect.
In the 1990s, there was a rash of cases of overexposure to inhaled formaldehyde, whose side effects included hallucinations, paranoia, panic, and loss of consciousness. This past 4th of July weekend, three Texas teenagers were hospitalized with an overdose of embalming fluid, and two funeral home burglaries were recently reported where formaldehyde was the only stolen item.
If parents need another reason to advise their kids against this practice, they might note that formaldehyde was recently identified as a carcinogen by the US government’s National Toxicology Program.