Wet drugs are drugs that have been “enhanced” with liquid substances like embalming fluid or phencyclidine (PCP). Wet drugs are also known as “fry drugs” because they’re dried out after they’ve been dipped in liquids. The most common wet drugs are tobacco or marijuana cigarettes laced with PCP or embalming fluid.
Wet drugs are made with PCP or embalming fluid (like that found in funeral homes) for the additional mind-altering effects they can provide. PCP was originally developed for anesthesia and pain management purposes for surgeries. That was discontinued because of the negative effects it was having on patients.
PCP, also known as angel dust, continues to be produced and used illegally because of its mood, mind, and perception-altering effects. PCP also has the ability to make some people very agitated and cause violent behavior.
Embalming fluid contains ethyl alcohol, methanol, formaldehyde, and other solutions. People dip cigarettes or joints in embalming fluid because it can slow down the time it takes to burn. It also can have hallucinogenic effects.
Other street names for wet drugs include:
- Purple rain
- Happy sticks
- Fry sticks
- Crazy eddy
It’s the different components of wet drugs that make them addictive. There are numerous studies showing the very addictive nature of tobacco cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. Though cannabis is widely legalized, there’s also research showing marijuana can be addictive. The DMV-5 denotes marijuana addiction as cannabis use disorder, and sets forth criteria several for its diagnosis.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies PCP as a Schedule II drug, which means using it puts you at high risk for addiction and chemical dependency. You can become psychologically addicted to the effects of PCP and some research indicates you may experience physical changes to the brain as well.
PCP-tainted marijuana cigarettes add another layer of addiction risk to the mix. The same with tobacco. When you dip marijuana and cigarettes in PCP, you’re now ingesting two addictive substances. Embalming fluid is not addictive in and of itself, but it is toxic and can cause severe side effects.
Wet drug abuse comes with several risks. PCP and embalming fluid can be toxic to your body.
Effects of PCP in wet drugs may include:
- Violent behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
- Stunted growth and development in young people
- Learning problems
- Memory loss
- Weight loss
- Speech problems
Effects of embalming fluid in wet drugs may include:
- Nose and throat sores
- Brain damage
- Coordination problems
- Lung damage
- Damage to body tissue
There have also been reports of respiratory failure in people admitted to the ER after smoking wet drugs.
Treatment for wet drug abuse is similar to the way other substance abuse is treated. Depending on how long you’ve been using wet drugs or if you’re using them in combination with other substances like alcohol, you may begin treatment in a medical detox center. This is important because detoxing from drugs and alcohol can be dangerous without the help of medical professionals. During medical detox, you’ll be given medications to ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Nurses are there around the clock to make sure you’re safe and as comfortable as possible.
Following detox, behavioral health treatment will help prevent relapse. In professional drug and alcohol treatment, you explore your triggers to use substances. This way you can develop healthy coping skills to deal with challenges instead of turning to drugs or alcohol. Sometimes unaddressed underlying struggles can perpetuate substance use. These often include:
- Trauma and PTSD
- Co-occurring disorders like depression and anxiety
- Unhealthy attachment styles
- Low self-worth
- Low stress tolerance
Effective drug rehabs provide mental health treatment to address psychological symptoms that drugs and alcohol are masking. Many also have therapy programs specific to trauma like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Trauma and addiction share a strong link and can feed off each other.
Substance abuse treatment centers may offer several levels of care. The best treatment program for you depends on the severity of your substance abuse and individual situation. Levels of care at an addiction treatment center may include:
- Medical detox
- Inpatient treatment
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
- Outpatient treatment (OP)
- Sober living residences
In residential treatment, you live at the rehab center. You attend day treatment and participate in evening recovery activities with other clients. Partial hospitalization programs provide day treatment, but you live at home or in a sober living residence. Outpatient options like IOPs and OPs offer varying hours of day treatment depending on where you are in your recovery journey.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, we can help. Our dual diagnosis treatment centers provide evidence-based care that’s effective and many clients say, life-changing. You can do this. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.