A chemical used to preserve the dead is becoming an increasingly popular drug for teenagers and young adults looking for a new and different high. Amp, clickem, crazy eddie, drank, fry, illy, purple rain, wack, wet, and wet daddy known to the average person as embalming fluid is the newest drug craze that is hitting the streets in the United States.
Embalming fluid’s main purpose is to slow the decomposition of the dead. Mainly found in morgues and funeral homes. The fluid involves the injection of chemicals into the body through the blood vessels for preservation of the body. The following compounds are found in embalming fluid, formaldehyde, methanol, and ethanol or ethyl alcohol. In embalming fluid products, the percentage of formaldehyde can range from 5 to 29 percent; ethyl alcohol content can vary from 9 to 56 percent. Ethyl alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant.
The drug can be sold on the street from twenty dollars to thirty-five dollars. Users are buying the fluid and dipping their marijuana joints or blunts in the fluid, letting the joint or blunt dry then smoking it . Most of the users don’t know that somewhere along the dealing process that the embalming fluid is being laced with PCP. So while most users think they are smoking marijuana dipped in embalming fluid they are getting an extra high from the unknown PCP. It is important to note that the PCP is not a normal compound in embalming fluid. Embalming fluid is generally consumed in small groups of three to five and smoked. The embalming fluid may enhance absorption by slowing the rate at which the marijuana burns.
It has been reported that the actual smoking of embalming fluid is not very pleasant. It has been said that it taste like rubbing alcohol and smells like gasoline. The high last between six hours to thirty hours and the acute symptoms of intoxication usually subside in twenty-four to thirty-six hours depending of the half-lives of the drugs used in a particular mixture. The drug can be stored in fats and then released, causing recurrence of symptoms.
The short term effects of using embalming fluid are as follows; blurred vision or impaired vision which is a symptom that begins at the high and endures into the next day. Headache that follows the day after consumption. Increased forgetfulness, vomiting, depression or sadness, facial or bodily edema, anger, frustration, hallucinations, delusions, increase in women’s sexual appetites, paranoia, physical violence and sleepiness. While high on embalming fluid it is reported that many users see very colorful images, such as purple clouds, red trees and light pink or yellow dots .
The long term effects of using embalming fluid are serious conditions that can result in death. Users have been known to mutter to themselves and walk in bizarre fashions. The embalming fluid accumulates in the spinal cord and makes the back break down and stops the maturation process. Additional long term effects also include high fever, heart attacks, high blood pressure, kidney failure, destruction of muscle tissue, brain damage, coma, convulsions, chronic coughing, pneumonia and anorexia. Overdose can lead to brain damage where the user is placed in a mental health or mental retardation facilities and death may occur.
The use of embalming fluid as a means of getting high is a growing public health concern. The majority of reports concerning the use and dealing of embalming fluid has been from major U.S. cities but use is also seen in small communities. The major cities include; Chicago, IL. , Cleveland, OH., Hartford and New Haven CT., Kansas City, MO., New Orleans, LA., New York, NY., Philadelphia, PA., Houston and Galveston, TX., Washington, DC., and Los Angeles, CA. ABC News has recently done a report titled “Kids Use Embalming Fluid as Drug”. The news report states that mainly teens and young people in their twenty’s are using the drug, and that police are having a hard time stopping the using and dealing of the drug because one of the main compounds in embalming fluid is formaldehyde which can be purchased in drug stores and beauty stores because it is also a main compound in nail care products.
There have also been reports that students have been stealing formaldehyde from school science labs. In Louisiana and New York there have been many police reports concerning embalming fluid thefts from funeral homes and morgues. The embalming fluid companies have sent out letters to the funeral homes and morgues with suggestions on how to keep their embalming fluid in a more secure place. A newspaper in Sanger ,Texas published an article in May of 1996 that reported four teenagers broke into a funeral home and they could not find any embalming fluid so they cut the finger off of a corpse.
The most interesting article yet was published from a Philadelphia suburb called Morrisville, where a 14 year old boy stabbed a 33 year old neighbor more than 70 times in May of 2000 after smoking embalming fluid he had bought in Trenton, NJ. The boy is now serving a seven year sentence in a juvenile facility. In Connecticut, smoking embalming fluid appeared in 1995 and was a factor in at least four deaths. In Oklahoma, three teenage girls reported in 2004 that they were sexually assaulted by male friends after the group smoked the fluid.
As the growing epidemic of smoking embalming fluid is taking over the youths of America as the new high, adults, police and health officials are doing the best they can to prevent the use of such an absurd drug of choice. Like any drug its addicting to the point where individuals are committing crimes against other people in order to obtain the fluid. Thus authoritative action needs to be taken in ways to make embalming fluid even harder to obtain by unauthorized users to have. Although embalming fluid is fairly new to the streets it has made a very shocking impact on today’s society.