The drug crisis in West Virginia is so bad that wasp spray is now being used as an alternative form of methamphetamine, reported WCHS-TV Charleston, West Virginia.
Police are warning about this dangerous trend as it erupts across Boone County, a region in West Virginia known for widespread opioid and methamphetamine use.
“We’re seeing this here on the streets in Boone County,” Sgt. Charles Sutphin said. “People are making synthetic type methamphetamine out of wasp spray.”
State Police have said the wasp spray has already led to three overdoses in the last week.
“In my opinion, drugs are so bad around here. It’s so available to people, and then all the time trying things new that we wouldn’t even think about,” Diana Ferguson said.
WCHS first broke the story last Monday, said stores in Boone County on July 12 sold nearly 30 cans of the pesticide.
Sgt. Sutphin said the psychoactive effects of wasp spray include erratic behavior and extreme inflammation and redness of the hands and feet.
“From what we’re being told, if you use it, you know, you might use it once or twice and be fine, but the third time when your body hits that allergic reaction, it can kill you,” Sutphin said.
It’s a cheap fix for meth addicts, Sutphin said, adding that the overall results of its usage are still realtively unknown.
State police in Boone County are working with poison control and local hospitals to ensure that if residents adopt widespread usage of meth infused wasp spray, local officials will be able to manage the increased overdoses expected in the weeks and months ahead.
Local officials are also working on a plan to alert the public in the dangerous of using pesticides to get high – could result in death by the third high.
Some background on Boone County, drug overdose deaths have increased substantially since 2001. The number of deaths in 2016 was nearly five times the number of deaths in 2001.
In 2017, West Virginia led the nation with 57.8 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 residents. Almost a half-million Americans have died of overdoses to prescription drugs, cocaine, heroin, meth, and fentanyl between 1999 and 2017.
The explosion of the drug crisis in the Rust Belt is a result of decades of deindustrialization.
There is and will be no revival of the Rust Belt into 2020 like President Trump has promised – an industrial slowdown is well underway that will lead to more factory closures and job losses, causing financial hardships that tend to force some blue-collar workers into a life of drug addiction.