In January personnel from Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services, the Indianapolis Fire Department and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department responded to dozens of overdoses in or around Downtown’s Wheeler Mission. 17 of these overdoses were believed to be caused by the drug “KD”, or “Katie”.
This new drug cocktail is a direct result from dealers lacing a subtance such as tobacco, marijuana, or spice with bug spray. The desired effect they’re after is from the high concentrations of pyrethroids found in bug sprays such as Raid.
Indianapolis Fire Department Captain Chris Major told Indianapolis’ FOX59 (WXIN-TV):
“We describe it as being like a zombie. They cannot talk to us.”
“We find people passed out with it still in their hand. That is how fast it has an effect on them. Their movements are slow and lethargic, a lot of drooling and a loss of function. We find them with their clothes off, eating the grass, pulling dirt out of the ground and trying to put it in their mouth” he added.
The active ingredients used in most household bug sprays (as opposed to the repellants you spray on your skin) are pyrethroids — compounds that are structurally similar to pyrethrins, natural insecticides produced by chrysanthemum flowers.
Here’s how the insecticide works: The brain communicates with the rest of the body through signals sent through the nerves. Nerves transmit these “messages” to the body by firing off an electrical signal. Then, the nerve stops firing, so it can recover and fire again when needed.
Dr. Daniel Rusyniak, medical director of the Indiana Poison Center explains:
“The way pyrethroids work is they keep the firing going, so that the nerve doesn’t really recover. They do so by opening up what we call sodium channels on the nerves. So, you just get repetitive-type firing.”
The biggest problem about KD is how accessible bug spray is to anyone of any age.
“They no longer have to drive to a shady street corner,” Rusyniak said. “They can get on the internet and they can order this and it can be delivered to their house by Amazon.”