What Household Items Are Used to Get High?
Addiction is a serious problem that affects millions of Americans of all ages each year. In fact, studies show that nearly 21 million Americans have battled with at least one addiction.
Unfortunately, of those 21 million, only 10% ever receive the help they truly need.
From alcohol to opioids, substance abuse runs rampant across the globe and is responsible for millions of deaths.
Unfortunately, as the years progress, drug addiction in America has only grown worse, coupled with a global pandemic, the results are staggering.
Now that families and individuals are stuck at home more often than ever, it’s important to point out household items that are potentially problematic to individuals in recovery, those struggling with addiction, or those who are simply too curious for their own good.
When typical drugs are harder than usual to score (acquire), individuals will get creative with the products they have on hand.
Common household items like cleaning supplies, dental care, and over-the-counter medication are being used by experimental teens and desperate adults to get high and escape reality. However, while these household products are not the equivalent to illegal substances, their effects are quite similar and can just as easily result in severe consequences.
Sadly, there are countless ways to get high without using drugs. Here, we’ve defined the most prevalent household items used to get high.
Known for its warm, earthy flavor and culinary versatility, nutmeg is the complimentary sibling to cinnamon and a fan-favorite to many bakers.
In addition to its uses in the kitchen, nutmeg has anti-inflammatory properties that can improve blood sugar levels, digestion, and heart health.
While there are many culinary and science-backed benefits of nutmeg, this savory spice also has a dark and dangerous side. In large quantities, nutmeg can get you high.
Also referred to as nutmeg intoxication, the high comes from an ingredient in nutmeg called myristicin, a chemical compound that is found in the essential oils of its plant. When broken down in the human body, myristicin disturbs the central nervous symptom, causing nausea, dizziness, hallucinations, and more.
In small doses like baking, nutmeg is harmless, and as we shared earlier, actually has a few health benefits. However, large doses of five teaspoons or more, it has adverse effects.
Importantly, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever need five teaspoons of this spice, as a little goes a long way in both baking and cooking. Since it’s used sparingly, its intoxication side effects are not widely known.
Regardless of its lack of popularity, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms and effects of nutmeg intoxication. Additional documented side effects include dry mouth, confusion, seizures, vomiting, rapid heart rate, nausea, low blood pressure, and diarrhea.
Myristicin is not known to be an addiction-forming drug, but it is a cause for concern. Mixed with other drugs, nutmeg intoxication can be fatal.
2) Robitussin/Cough Medicine
Robitussin is a cough-suppressing medication that available in over 100 different over-the-counter products. While its intended use is to subdue allergy or illness-related coughing, Robitussin and other cough medicines are widely misused by teens and adults. Since the active ingredient in cough medicine (dextromethorphan) is not a controlled substance, it can be purchased at any store by anyone — enabling the problematic potential for abuse.
In fact, many users refer to Robitussin abuse as robotripping. Robotripping is when an individual ingests large quantities of cough medicine — like Robitussin — to experience hallucinogenic effects.
Robotripping is commonly used by younger generations who want to experience the hallucinogenic effects of the medicine without the need for harder drugs like LSD or psychedelic mushrooms. This recreational and dangerous use of cough medicine can cause life-threatening effects that need to be taken seriously.
The hallucinating properties in cough medicine are powerful and cause a variety of severe symptoms. In large quantities, it can cause users to experience paranoia, aggression, delusions, violent behavior, night terrors, and impaired cognitive function.
Effects and symptoms vary based on the individual’s weight, drug history, and metabolism. Other common side effects include nausea, sweating, high blood pressure, and sedation. In the most extreme cases, consuming too much dextromethorphan can result in chemical psychosis. In teens, addiction to cough medicine can impair their learning abilities and memory.
3) Allergy Medication
In September of 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about the dangers of taking the higher than recommended doses of common allergy medicine like diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Shockingly, allergy medicine like Benadryl is one of the most common household items to get high off of due to its ease of accessibility. Think about it – who doesn’t have allergy medicine in their homes? Especially in the spring when it’s the height of allergy season.
The excessive use of allergy medicine and antihistamines can produce a sedating and hallucinogenic effect on its users. For an even stronger high, some individuals will even combine their allergy medication with prescription drugs like Xanax.
As a recreational drug, antihistamines can cause confusion, rapid heart rate, nausea, double vision, dry mouth, and loss of appetite. Long-term abuse or large quantities of allergy medication (more than 25 mg) can lead to grave effects such as heart problems, seizures, coma, or even death.
More Importantly, there have been many reports of a new trend on TikTok called the “Benadryl Challenge,” which encourages teens and young adults to take large doses of antihistamines like Benadryl to induce intense hallucinations. Regrettably, what most of these teens don’t realize is that exorbitant use of allergy medication can result in death — and it has.
There have been a few reports of deaths and many reports of overdoses that are a result of this dangerous challenge. In fact, one teen ended up in the emergency room after taking 14 Benadryl pills.
As a parent, it’s important to talk to your teen about the dangers of this TikTok challenge. Additionally, all allergy medication should be kept in an area that’s easily monitored and out of reach from teens and adults that are at a higher risk of substance abuse.
4) Hand Sanitizer
Due to its high levels of alcohol, hand sanitizer is an easy way for teenagers to get drunk. In fact, the amount of alcohol in certain bottles of hand sanitizer (60% and up) is equivalent to five shots of liquor. Consumed in excess, the results can be deadly.
Since the start of the coronavirus, hand sanitizer has become a necessity in the home and workplace. As a common household product, more and more teens are able to get their hands on it for more sinister uses.
The high alcohol content in hand sanitizer is enticing teens to drink it in order to become intoxicated. Teens who misuse hand sanitizer as a drink will experience slurred speech, trouble with coordination, and vomiting.
While these symptoms are nearly identical to standard alcohol consumption, isopropyl alcohol that’s found in sanitizer can cause a range of serious health risks, including damage to the nervous system, blindness, and organ failure.
Not to mention, in times of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s hard to monitor how quickly you’re going through hand sanitizer. If you’re adamant about avoiding the virus, chances are, you’re using sanitizer multiple times throughout the day. Its constant use gets easily overlooked by family members, making it easier for teens and those struggling with abuse to use without getting caught.
Did you know many varieties of mouthwash actually contain more than 20% of alcohol? That’s the equivalent of 40-proof liquor. Due to its high alcohol content, mouthwash is designed to be spit out immediately after use. However, that’s not the only reason mouthwash brands do not recommend ingestion. Mouthwash also contains levels of hydrogen peroxide and methyl alcohol that are toxic to humans. Unfortunately, not many people realize this, as mouthwash is used as another method to get high at home.
Mouthwash is notoriously abused by adults and teens who are struggling with addiction. Additionally, recovering alcoholics also ingest mouthwash to subdue withdrawal symptoms — a risky path that can cause a relapse. Not to mention, it’s highly discreet since the minty after-effects cover up breath smells. No one really questions someone whose breath smells like mint rather than liquor.
If ingested in large quantities, the effects of these toxic chemicals can be severe. Common symptoms include blindness, organ failure, gastrointestinal damage, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and death.
Inhalants define a broad category of products that are commonly misused for their mind-altering effects. Disguised as your everyday household products, these inhalants include:
Types of Inhalants Used to Get High:
Solvents (liquids that become gas at room temperature)
- Paint thinners or removers
- Lighter fluid
- Dry-cleaning fluid
- Permanent marker fluid
- Nail polish remover
- Various cleaning supplies
- Spray paint
- Computer cleaner
- Vegetable oil spray
- Whipped cream cans (also referred to as whip-its or whippets)
- Spray deodorant
- Fabric protector spray
- Butane lighters
- Propane tanks
When thinking about these products, you wouldn’t immediately associate them with deadly drugs. However, many individuals, unfortunately, abuse them for their psychoactive properties that occur from the release of nitrous oxide.
Inhalants are common party drugs that are primarily used among teens and young adults.
When breathed in, individuals experience a temporary high. To prolong that high, users will continuously inhale over a long period of time. Typically, those who use inhalants will breathe in the fumes by sniffing, snorting, bagging, or huffing. Each method of inhalation varies by the products and equipment used.
Repeated use of inhalants can have significant effects on the body. The nitrous oxide within inhalants affects the central nervous system and slows down brain activity. In some cases, its effects are almost identical to alcohol — causing slurred speech, dizziness, lack of coordination, and the feeling of euphoria. With excessive abuse, users may also experience hallucinations, delusions, nausea, headaches, and drowsiness. Other common side effects include numbness, muscle spasms, gastrointestinal pain, violent mood swings, hearing loss, and decreased motor skills.
It’s important to note, although the original purpose of inhalant products is not drug-related, it is still possible to suffer an overdose from them.
Many of the above-mentioned inhalants contain high concentrations of chemicals with active ingredients that — if respired too often — can cause seizures or even coma.
More severely, whip-its and other inhalants can cause a fatal syndrome called Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome (SSDS) — when the heart stops abruptly, resulting in death. SSDS is so severe that it can happen to a healthy person on their first time using an inhalant. In addition to SSDS, inhalants can cause death by suffocation, choking, and asphyxiation.
Getting High with Household Products is a Dangerous Game
Although many of these household items are not classified as illegal or illicit drugs, the misuse of them makes them equally dangerous. Many of these items are specific to cleaning and contain a myriad of chemicals that can prove to be fatal if ingested.
While this dangerous game does not exclude adults, it’s fairly common for teenagers to use household items like cleaning supplies, mouthwash, and allergy medicine as a means for substance abuse.
Teens and adults mainly do this to experience the euphoric effects that these products cause without thinking about the bigger and darker picture at hand. Temporary relief from reality or simple experimentation can have deadly consequences when individuals abuse illicit drugs and household products.
If you notice a particular item on this list — that you do not use on a regular basis — is constantly running low, there’s a chance that someone in your household may be abusing it to get high.
Now that we are living in the unprecedented times of a global pandemic, it is more important than ever to keep a watchful eye on your teen or loved one. The terrible effects of this pandemic have caused many individuals — with or without a history of substance abuse — to do dangerous things out of boredom, depression, and anxiety.
Be sure to spot the warning signs, remove any access to the products, and seek professional support before serious harm is done.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please reach out to our team of professionals today.