Causes of zombification

Is KD the next ‘zombie’ drug?

By Chris Post

Every year or so, it seems, a new drug arrives that supposedly turns its users into zombies. Bath salts and krokodil have come and gone, replaced by the latest new street drug known as Katie, or simply KD.

According to reports coming out of Indiana, first responders in Indianapolis are seeing an increase in calls to help those who have taken KD. The drug is made by taking synthetic marijuana called potpourri and dousing it with bug spray. Once the drug has been soaked and dried it is smoked.

In an interview with the Indianapolis Star, firefighter Scott Lebherz explained that ingesting something designed to kill bugs can have a variety of effects on the human body.

“You look at what it does to a bug,” Lebherz said. “And then you got to think what it’s doing to your brain, and your body and everything else.”

According to reports, people on the drug experience a high lasting 20 to 45 minutes and exhibit behavior ranging from wide-eyed catatonia to a slow-motion, lumbering walk. Some have reportedly been seen eating grass and dirt. To date, there haven’t been any reports of KD users attacking people.

There are some, however, who dispute the allegation that the behavior of KD users is due to insecticide. Chief among the skeptics is SC Johnson, maker of the bug sprays RAID and OFF!. In response to the reports about KD, the company issued the following statement:

“Over the past 24 hours, we’ve seen an increasing number of media reports about drug users intentionally misusing pest products such as Raid® and OFF!®, made by SC Johnson, to achieve a catatonic state for up to 45 minutes. The reported effects are completely inaccurate.

According to our scientific experts, exposure to the active ingredients in these products would not cause the reported effects. Global authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. EPA, for many decades have studied these active ingredients and they have not reported ill effects like this. Additionally, even if these active ingredients were intentionally overused, we would not expect these types of symptoms, nor would they last for 45 minutes.

While well intended, news reports such as these are extremely concerning when they correlate a product’s impact on a bug with its impact on a human being. Not only are the conclusions often incorrect, the report could encourage copycat experimentation. Pest control products should never be used in any way that goes against the label instructions. Our products are safe when used as directed.

Drug abuse is an alarming epidemic in the United States and beyond, and this is of great concern for all of us in the consumer products industry whose products may periodically be misused. The last thing we would ever want is for media reporting to inspire this misuse, that’s why we feel a responsibility to issue this statement today.

SC Johnson is a founding member of the Alliance for Consumer Education, which for nearly two decades has educated parents, educators, law enforcement and poison control centers about inhalation abuse, the misuse of products and the importance of following label instructions.”

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