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.

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  1. by Kashmir

    On July 10, 2011 at 11:30 am

    This is ridiculous! Teenagers are not doing this as a trend! Half the teenagers who smoke marijuana aren’t even smart enough to know the side effects of formaldehyde, and wouldn’t even think to put it on their marijuana! Also how would a typical teenager even get formaldehyde. This is crazy. Articles like this is what makes parents paranoid. It makes them never let their kids leave the house because they are afraid they will do things like this. They end up smothering their kids from fear that their kids are doing drugs. Then their kids will probably try to rebel against their parents, for smothering them and not trusting them, and end up doing what their parents didn’t want them to do in the first place! I have seen it happen! This also shows the intelligence of the kids in Texas. As if doing drugs isn’t bad enough, make them worse for you! Kids need to be taught about the negative effects of drugs on their growing brains and bodies. What they are doing to themselves are permanent and they aren’t even half way through life yet. I am thankful my daughter is not a teenager yet and that I have a looong way to go before then.

  2. by Krystal

    On July 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    I proise you this trend is REAL! I go to university in Philadelphia and I know many natives of this city. You should hear of how many have tried this. It’s called “wet” here. I have a friend who has a childhood pregnant friend who even did it while pregnant.

  3. by Tanya

    On July 28, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    This is definitely true, and also not new. People have been smoking “wet” since I was in hs, and I graduated in 2000. It’s gross, yes, but at least finally getting the word out. That’s the only slang term I’ve ever heard it called, but I’m sure there are other names for it. Education is the best way to avoid falling into the trap of sheltering your children to the point of rebellion. Be honest with them, tell them what’s out there and the damage it does, and make it clear you won’t tolerate any sort of drug use, and people would be surprised at what a little follow-through on consequences will do.

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