Embalming fluid is becoming an increasingly popular drug for users looking for a new and different high--one that often comes with violent and psychotic side effects.
Users--mainly teenagers and people in their 20s--are buying tobacco or marijuana cigarettes that have been soaked in the fluid, then dried. The cigarettes cost about $20 apiece and are called by nearly a dozen names nationwide, including "wet," "fry" and "illy."
"The idea of embalming fluid appeals to people's morbid curiosity about death," said Dr. Julie Holland of New York University School of Medicine. "There's a certain gothic appeal to it."
Although there are no national statistics on usage, many drug experts say it appears to have spread from urban areas to well-to-do suburban neighborhoods and college campuses.