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People Are Getting High Off A 'Catnip Cocktail' Meant For Their Pets

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And you thought you'd heard of everything.


A northern New Jersey police department has issued a statement warning townsfolk to avoid recreational use of Catnip Cocktail, which is used to treat anxiety in pets.

Fairfield, New Jersey police seized 61 bottles of the cocktail during a raid at Nutrition Zone, a nutrition store. The police first became aware of Nutrition Zone's Catnip Cocktail sales in July 2018 after being called "to investigate an individual who was dancing, yelling and generally acting abnormally in front of a hair salon." The man had six bottles of Catnip Cocktail in his possession as well as a Nutrition Zone receipt.

"This is a very dangerous product and it appears its improper use is on the rise," Fairfield Police Chief Anthony G. Manna said in a statement.

"In executing today's search warrant, the Fairfield Police Department has sent a clear message that we will do whatever we can to assure that Catnip Cocktail does not become the next drug fad."

The Fairfield Police Department issued a warning about Catnip Cocktail in November, saying the sedative is "not to be consumed by humans":

"The Fairfield Police Department is warning the community about the misuse of a product known as Catnip Cocktail, a liquid that is supposed to be strictly used to sedate cats and not to be consumed by humans."
"Still, over the last six months, the Fairfield Police Department experienced two cases wherein people were found to be acting extremely irrational and incoherent after allegedly consuming it with both requiring immediate medical attention. The most recent incident occurred on November 1, 2018 at approximately 2:00 PM."

Here's where things get really interesting:

"On that date, a concerned citizen contacted the police department and reported that he was traveling west on Route 46 behind a 2015 grey BMW that was allegedly being operated in an erratic manner. Fairfield officers converged on the vehicle and initiated a motor vehicle stop."
"The vehicle was found to be operated by Richard Mazza (40) of Kenilworth, N.J. It is alleged that Mazza was extremely confused, totally unaware of his surroundings and unable to answer simple questions. This prompted Officer R.J. Casendino to conduct field sobriety testing."
"After the first test it became apparent that Mazza would be unable to perform any tests and that it was believed he was under the influence of something. He was then placed under arrest."

Oh, boy:

"Further investigation led to the discovery of 8 bottles of Catnip Cocktail found in his vehicle. Mazza was transported to police headquarters for processing. While at headquarters, it is alleged that Mazza began yelling obscenities and high pitched screams."
"He was eventually charged with driving under the influence, refusal to submit to a breath test and driving under the influence in a school zone. Mazza's behavior was allegedly so bizarre that he was transported by ambulance to a local hospital. He is scheduled to make an initial appearance in the Fairfield Municipal Court on November 8, 2018."

Police Chief Anthony G. Manna also issued a statement of his own:

"Because this product is not yet listed as a controlled dangerous substance, the prosecutor's office has not been able to authorize criminal charges for either its possession or use. We are making the public aware of the increased misuse of this extremely dangerous product to hopefully curtail others from doing it."
"We are going to work diligently with county, state and federal legislators and law enforcement officials to have this product listed as a controlled dangerous substance in order to take away the loophole that currently exists in the law preventing criminal charges."

Catnip Cocktail appears to be sold primarily in smoke shops and not in pet stores. It contains 1-4 BDO, or 1-4 butanediol, which is most often used in commercial cleaning products. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that 1-4 BDO converts to the GHB––the "date rape drug"–– upon ingestion.

As a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) points out:

"GHB was marketed to bodybuilders in the 1980s as a purported aid to muscle building and fat loss. Because of its euphoric and sexual effects, it became a drug of abuse. Reports of the drug's toxicity resulted in warnings about health risks. Subsequently, 1,4-BD and GBL, another precursor to GHB, began to be marketed as a "natural," "nontoxic" dietary supplement, and as a substitute for GHB for its intoxicating effects."
"1,4-BD is used as a liquid and a few milliliters would be a typical recreational dose. There is a steep dose-effect curve between doses producing desired and excessive effects, and there have been published reports of adverse reactions to 1,4-BD including fatalities. Signs and symptoms can include: euphoria, relaxation, reduced inhibition and sedation, progressing to vomiting, urinary and fecal incontinence, agitation, convulsions, bradycardia, respiratory depression, coma and death."

It's not entirely clear how widespread recreational use of Catnip Cocktail is.

The DEA's National Forensic Laboratory Information System says it's not among the top 25 most seized drugs; in fact, the most recent reports appear to "surround" the incidents in New Jersey, according to Linda Richter, Ph.D, director of Policy Research and Analysis at the Center on Addiction.

But the reports have people convinced that some will get high on just about anything.





We'll pass.

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