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Officials: Wasp spray used as alternative meth, contributed to three overdoses

Posted at 9:29 PM, Jul 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 00:29:50-04

BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. — West Virginia State Police are seeing an alarming drug trend that wasp spray is being used as an alternative form of meth.

"We're seeing this here on the streets in Boone County," Sgt. Charles Sutphin said. "People are making a synthetic type methamphetamine out of wasp spray."

State Police now have reason to believe it played a role in three overdoses 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.

On Friday, stores in Boone County reported selling nearly 30 cans of the spray.

Sgt. Sutphin said the physical effects are erratic behavior and extreme swelling and redness of the hands and feet.

"From what we're being told, if you use it, you know, you might use it one or twice and be fine, but the third time when your body hits that allergic reaction, it can kill you," Sutphin said.

The challenge is how to treat these symptoms and prevent the use of this legal, cheap product for harm.

"It's a cheap fix, and you don't know what their overall result of their usage of this is going to be," Sutphin said.

State Police in Boone County are working closely with poison control and local medical centers to determine best treatment for someone using wasp spray as a drug. They are also in the process of putting this information out to other local agencies in West Virginia and potentially nationwide.

"We have great grand babies, and to think what they're going to grow up in, and what's going to be available to them, and what people are going to get them to try... It's really scary," Ferguson said.