When someone wants to get high, there is no shortage of substances they can use to accomplish this goal. Everyday household items, like aerosol spray cans, and even spices from the kitchen cabinet, can alter someone’s perception when abused. Below are the top five strange ways people get high today.
Huffing is the act of abusing an inhalant to get high. Huffing an inhalant is an easy and cheap way to induce euphoria or an other-worldly experience. Ordinary, everyday objects can be huffed, such as aerosol spray cans, markers, glue, paint thinner, nail polish remover, and lighter fluid. When someone “huffs” an item, they are trying to inhale the mind-altering, chemical vapors it emits. This is a dangerous act because chemical vapors directly impact the brain and the health of the sinuses. Severe inhalant abuse can cause permanent brain damage, and also cause arrhythmia and tachycardia.
It’s also possible for someone to lose their sense of smell from huffing inhalants. Nutmeg is a spice that many people may find in their kitchen cabinets. This spice is often used to make pies, eggnog, and other drinks and baked goods. Unfortunately, too much nutmeg can lead to poisoning and a potentially fatal overdose. It’s difficult for someone to get high on nutmeg without poisoning themselves. The spice contains trace amounts of myristicin, an oily substance that is a chemical cousin to mescaline. When someone tries to get high on nutmeg, what they are doing is attempting to induce a psychedelic high that is similar to what happens when someone abuses amphetamines. Someone would have to consume anywhere from two tablespoons to an entire container of nutmeg to get high, and these effects would typically take up to four hours to manifest. After getting high on nutmeg, a person will feel hungover, and also experience gastrointestinal upset. Tachycardia is also a risk when detoxing from nutmeg. Krokodil is an illicit street drug that made its first appearance in Russia in the early 2000s. This substance got its name from the animal “crocodile” because it causes severe, unsightly scales to form on the user’s skin. People will make the drug at home with codeine, an OTC cough medicine, and cook it with paint thinner, iodine, hydrochloric acid, gasoline, and red phosphorus from matchbox strike pads. The final product, a liquid, only takes about a half hour to make. Users inject it into a vein for a powerful, heroin-like high that lasts about 90 minutes to two hours. Drug and alcohol abuse can severely undermine a person’s health and destroy their physical appearance, but krokodil takes this to a whole new level. Life expectancy levels for the average heroin user is between four and seven years. For people addicted to krokodil, it is only one to two years after a person starts injecting the drug. Krokodil causes sepsis, bone infections, pneumonia, and gangrene. People who inject krokodil will have their flesh dissolve, exposing the bone and leaving them vulnerable to disease and death. Pruno first started in prisons, where inmates would make an alcoholic beverage by fermenting sugary substances and foods. Most of the time, pruno is made out of ketchup, candies, and fruit. Adding bread to the mixture gives the product yeast that allows it to ferment.
Pruno can have an alcohol concentration of up to 14%. Carfentanil is a powerful, synthetic opioid that gets its name from fentanyl. While fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, carfentanil is about 100 times stronger than fentanyl. Carfentanil was initially used as an elephant tranquilizer, but it’s mixed with other drugs and then sold on the black market to heroin addicts. Carfentanil is so dangerous that people can fatally overdose on the substance before they ever experience a high. Who is most likely to be using these strange things to get high? In the case of carfentanil and krokodil, the people who use these drugs are typically addicted to heroin and trying to prevent withdrawals. Many unsuspecting people will use carfentanil when it is mixed with street heroin.
It’s impossible for a user to know when an illegal substance is combined with another drug. Unfortunately, carfentanil is adding to the mounting death toll of the opioid crisis.