Drugs come in many forms, from street drugs like cocaine or marijuana to prescription painkillers, muscle relaxers or anti-anxiety medications. There are also drugs that are within the reach of our children at all times, sometimes hidden under our kitchen sinks, in the spice rack or even out on the counter or for sale at local convenience stores. If a person, whether an adult or child, is seeking a way to escape, catch a buzz or get high, its easier than we may think to obtain the chemicals needed.
While many allergy or cold medications are regulated at local grocery or drug stores, the ability to turn those medications into crystal meth is still within the reach of the ordinary person. Crystal meth contains chemicals like rubbing alcohol and drain cleaner, in addition to the ephedrine needed to manufacture the drug. Methamphetamine abuse is rampant, and the crimes committed either while high or in the act of procuring the chemicals needed sometimes require special police officer task forces in order to battle the manufacturing and distribution of this drug.
In the “over the counter” pharmacy, there are also ways to emulate the hallucinogenic affects of LSD, PCP or ketamine. If a person consumes enough of certain cough syrups, they “can produce hallucinations or dissociative, ‘out-of-body’ experiences…and can cause other adverse health effects.”
Nutmeg, the same spice that is used to jazz up eggnog and holiday cookies, is also known as myristicin or myristic acid, a deliriant compound that can cause a person to hallucinate or experience a euphoric high when taken in large doses. Solvents such as paint thinner, gasoline or permanent markers may be inhaled for a high, and the propellants from whipped cream, hair spray or canned air used to clean electronics may also be inhaled to produce a light-headed euphoria. Incense is also making headlines in the “over the counter drug” world. K2, sold in many convenience stores, is being smoked as a legal alternative to marijuana. The company that manufactures K2 sprays the herbal blend with synthetic THC (said to be 10 times stronger than marijuana), giving the same high as marijuana, and potentially damaging organs in the process. Tests on the effects many of these chemicals have not been documented, and little is known regarding the long-term effects of consumption of K2, nutmeg or cough syrups. Inhalants are well known to cause brain damage and death, however, and should be monitored for their misuse by parents and caregivers.
Since all of these household drugs are legal, it is nearly impossible for police and law enforcement officials to curb their use. The danger in these drugs is that the long-term effects of their use have not been studied, and the behaviors that accompany the use of household drugs can lead to criminal behavior, illness or even death.