What are Some Strange Ways People Get High?

When most people think of substance abuse or drug addiction, they think of people who drink too heavily, inject heroin, or smoke meth. But the compulsion to get high can cause people to ingest, snort, or huff common, everyday items in a bid to numb their pain, alleviate their boredom, or prevent painful withdrawal symptoms from happening. To the outside eye, it can seem strange that some people would think that things like over-the-counter cough medicine or aerosol spray paint are the things that could get them high. Even something as seemingly innocuous as a dry-erase marker can induce euphoria.

Strange Ways People Get High

What are the weird ways people get high?

In most cases, it’s teenagers who try to get high with strange items. Most of the time, teens don’t have the money for expensive street drugs, or they don’t have the connections to find more potent drugs like cocaine or pot. Instead, teens and young adults will often use everyday household items to get high. In some cases,  people who are hospitalized for alcohol-related issues will sometimes drink hand sanitizer to stave off their withdrawal symptoms. The most commonly abused strange items to get high are as follows:

OTC cough syrup isn’t the weirdest item on this list, but it is a common, and unconventional way people get high. Cough syrup is easy to obtain, and drinking too much of it can make someone feel relaxed and fuzzy. Cough syrup has addictive potential, and mixing it with alcohol can even increase a person’s chances of fatally overdosing since both cough syrup and alcohol slow a person’s respiratory rate.

There are so many, everyday household inhalant items that teens can use to get high, including aerosol spray paint, Freon, household cleaners, whipped cream cans (whippets), and mothballs, which can induce feelings and sensations that are similar to being drunk. Inhalants and whippets can be addictive, and even fatal. Just one hit can cause brain damage or an overdose. The chemicals in these items can also cause heart or lung failure and kill someone. Abusing whippets can also deteriorate the spinal cord and cause a painful and dangerous vitamin B deficiency.

The same nutmeg spice that’s put in a pie can also induce euphoria if ingested in large enough quantities. Nutmeg can make a person dizzy, or nauseous, and can give someone heart palpitations. In people with underlying heart problems, too much nutmeg can be fatal.

Bath salts are also called synthetic cathinone and is sold in a powder or crystal form in small packets. These drugs are technically illegal, but it’s challenging for authorities to shut down the manufacture and sale of bath salts. Teens will snort, swallow, or even inject bath salts to get high. These substances can cause an increase in violent tendencies, a loss of reality, and make the person who’s taken the bath salts feel drunk. Taken in large doses, bath salts give off effects similar to PCP or meth. Users may find themselves excessively scratching and picking at their skin, which can lead to painful lesions and infections.

Although bath salts can sometimes be bought “legally” in a store, they are addictive and can give someone strong, intense withdrawal symptoms. Bath salts send thousands of people to the ER every year. Users can experience hallucinations and heart problems from a bath salt high, and can even die from taking too many bath salts.

Taking high doses of motion sickness pills can cause users to hallucinate, lose touch with reality, wet themselves, and become violent. The tablets won’t kill someone, but people who get high on motion sickness pills can hurt themselves or get into fights or problems with the police.

Spice, also known as K2, is synthetic marijuana. The product contains natural, shredded herbs and is sprayed with a compound that induces a high. Unlike the natural pot plant, a high from spice or K2 isn’t mellow or relaxing. Instead, users find themselves agitated, nauseous, and they can also experience hallucinations. Spice is incredibly toxic to the brain, and users can become violent and hurt themselves or otherwise. It’s possible to overdose on spice and die. The drug can induce a heart attack in an otherwise healthy person.

People have died from drinking hand sanitizer. Drinking hand sanitizer can give someone alcohol poisoning, induce a coma, or give them seizures. Teens typically do not know how much alcohol is in hand sanitizer, and they can easily overdose. Most hand sanitizer products have somewhere between 60% to 95% alcohol in them. Vodka has around 40% alcohol, and the average beer has only 5% alcohol.

What kind of help is available for people who abuse strange substances?

People who abuse strange substances need the same addiction and rehabilitation help as a person who is addicted to a common street drug, prescription medication, or alcohol. In most addiction cases, the person is abusing strange items to treat an underlying emotional or mental health issue. Since teens are the most likely people to get high by using everyday, household items, it is imperative that they are given treatment for drug abuse. Drinking too much cough syrup to get “drunk” as a teen can lead to dangerous binge drinking episodes as an adult, or even lead to alcohol dependency later in life.

For a person who enters a rehab facility for getting high off strange substances, it’s critical that they are given a mental health evaluation from a trained and qualified therapist. In many cases, people are self-medicating common mental health disorders like depression or anxiety by getting high. Teens especially and their guardians may not realize that their desire to get high stems from an underlying disorder.

Are you or a loved one struggling with substance abuse? It’s never too late to reach out for help from a licensed care facility. Please contact the experienced counselors and addiction treatment specialists at Windward Way to explore your options for substance abuse and mental health treatment.