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Embalming fluid as a drug

Embalming fluid as a drug

Can you get addicted to embalming fluid?


During my second spin in rehab, I met a kid, probably seventeen or eighteen, who said he was addicted to embalming fluid.

“You mean the stuff they use in mortuaries to preserve dead bodies?” I asked him.

“Yep,” he said, smirking mischievously. “Stuff gets you messed up. For real dawg.”

I couldn’t believe it. Addictive personality types have been known to try crazy things.   But I thought huffing paint was an exotic way to get inebriated (although being addicted to huffing is less than fun).  And I’d heard about getting high on nutmeg. But, embalming fluid? Well, now I’d heard everything. I decided to do a little research. It only took a few seconds of poking around on Google before I was taken to an entire treasure trove of articles written on the recreational use of embalming fluid. I was shocked. Not only was it prevalent all around the country, but people had been getting high off this stuff since the 1960’s!

Getting high on embalming fluid

The way it works is…the embalming fluid, which is basically just a mixture of formaldehyde, methanol, and ethanol, is used as more of a solvent for the dissolution of PCP, a highly potent hallucinogen. Since a tiny amount of PCP (less than a milligram) is enough to make even a full-grown gorilla go absolutely bananas, it can’t be ingested directly, and must first be diluted down into the embalming fluid. Then, a cigarette, usually marijuana or sometimes straight-up tobacco, is dipped into the solution and dried out in a freezer. The result, known as a “fry”, “fry stick”, or “death stick”, can be bought on any street corner for about twenty-bucks.

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Okay, well that makes more sense. At first I thought the kid meant he was stealing embalming fluid from mortuaries and injecting it straight into his veins, like you would a cadaver. Thank goodness, that’s not the case.

In reality, the embalming fluid is not the drug itself, but more of a solvent or “carrier” for the real drug, PCP, which is nothing to joke around about. This stuff is so dangerous and so potent…it seems to make people want to do the craziest and vilest things imaginable. In fact, anytime I hear a story about a guy who was “tased” seventeen times and shot in the chest with thirty rubber bullets, but still didn’t go down, I know the culprit right away; PCP…angel dust.

Embalming fluid: a carrier for PCP

Take for example the story of Sammy Hunter, who, after a couple hits off a blunt laced with angel dust, attempted to bake his own infant son in an oven. That’s right. You read this correctly. The guy was so messed up he tried to bake his own son and eat him! Now, I’ve heard of weed giving you the munchies, but this is ridiculous. What does PCP do? Turn you into some kind of cannibal?

According to police and local state prosecutors, after smoking some PCP-laced blunts with a friend, Hunter came home, turned on the oven, placed his 4 week old son in an empty diaper bag, and then tried to put him in the oven. Fortunately, Hunter’s girlfriend, the baby’s mother, stopped him. She turned off the oven and put the baby in a makeshift bassinet made out of a Rubbermaid container.

But that didn’t stop Hunter. He was determined. While the mother was in the other room, Hunter went back into the kitchen, turned on the oven, and watched television while it preheated. Then he grabbed the baby and, once again, tried to put him in the oven, but thankfully was stopped, again, by the baby’s mother.

Still determined, Hunter tried to set a fire using the natural gas piped into the kitchen. When firefighters responded to the neighbor’s reports of a gas leak they tried to force their way in only to be assaulted by Hunter. The police arrived moments later and arrested him and transported him to a hospital were he repeatedly said, “I need to kill him. I don’t want him to go through what I did.”

Scary, I know. That’s why this stuff is nothing to mess around with. And unless you want to end up in the ER, naked, and strapped down by your wrists and ankles, you’re probably better off staying away from the stuff. And even be careful if you go out and buy a blunt from the guy on the street corner that it’s not laced with PCP or anything else that might turn you into a raving, baby-baking lunatic.

Embalming fluid drug questions

Do you have questions about the role of embalming fluid in drug use? Please leave them here. We do our best to respond to all questions, comments or opinons with a personal and prompt reply.

Photo credit: bsimpsonuk

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47 Responses to “Embalming fluid as a drug
8:46 pm July 27th, 2012

Wow. I have other stories of the outrageous things people have done while on angel dust but I have never heard this Hunter story. It is absolutely horrifying yet it doesn’t surprise me considering the horrendous effects that using PCP can have. I used PCP as a young adult…among other drugs. I got clean and sober when I was 17 and I have been sober for the last 8 years.

12:57 pm January 3rd, 2013

The solvent used to dissolve PCP for the uses you describe isn’t any form of embalming fluid, PCP is usually dissolved in ether (Though I believe that petroleum or tetrahydrofuran can be used). “Embalming fluid” is just the street name, it’s nothing to do with the stuff they pump into corpses.
Second, the doses for PCP aren’t nearly as small as you’ve supposed in this article, a moderate dosage for a human being around 5-10 milligrams when inhaled (though doses are much lower when injected). Judging by their mass, I’d guess that a similar inhaled dose for a gorilla would be somewhere around 12 to 20 milligrams.

1:30 am March 29th, 2013

How long does wet stay in someone system I want to make sure my daughter isn’t still doing it by giving a drug test

12:58 am April 5th, 2013

My neighbors are smoking this stuff (I’m pretty sure) it has been making me sick since I moved into my apt above them. Is it possible for me to be tested to find out if this is in my system as well? I have been waking up with headaches and swollen eyes along with nausea. The burning smell is horrific and in all MY clothing carpets etc. I need help, I feel like I’m being poisoned!

2:08 pm April 8th, 2013

Hi Sick. I would recommend that you call the local authorities to report the experiences. There is a way to collect air samples which involves using your vacuum cleaner attached to an air bag. You can contact the EPA for more on this and to learn about how to gather samples.

5:43 pm July 24th, 2013

Please tell me what side effects will this give a person?

8:09 am June 26th, 2014

What could the side effects be from embalming fluid when someone is assaulted with it? For example if it is poured on their head and were to get into their eyes and they left it on their body unnoticed, assuming it was nothing, for hours…

10:41 am June 26th, 2014

Thank you for your questions Robin and Jessica.
When smoked recreationally, the Sherm cigarettes can cause symptoms such as numbness, hallucinations, euphoria, psychosis, and aggressive behavior. Smokers put them selves in the risk of bronchitis, destruction of body tissue, brain damage, lung damage, inflammation and sores in the nose, throat and esophagus. AND it’s been proven by scientists to be extremely carcinogenic.

The risks are even greater in individuals who are prone to developing conditions similar to psychosis. People under the influence of PCP are given the trait “Superhuman”, basically because it awakens violent feelings and actions, erratic and suicidal behaviors and prevents them from feeling any bodily pain.

In young users, even recreational use can affect the hormones in the body that regulate growth and development. Medical experts point out the potential risk of impaired learning process.

When taken more frequently and in higher doses, PCP can have fatal outcome, causing seizures, comma or even death-mostly as a result of the erratic behavior and injury while on the drug. Doctors don’t exclude schizophrenia-like symptoms, delusions and paranoia. Long-term use can lead to memory impairment, slurred speech, depression, and loss of weight.

IF it’s taken in, injected or swallowed, for some reason, it’s a medical emergency and upon that case one should call 911.

Jessica, I’d suggest that you call a doctor in a case like what you describe. If it’s on skin for an extended period of time it begins to burn. Medical cases show skin discoloration for a period in time before the skin starts to repair. But, it’s best to have a doctor check you out!

12:56 am August 6th, 2014

My 19 year old grandson is currently in a mental health facility for smoking pot soaked in embalming fluid. Can you tell me how long the effects last & if he will be ok?

10:09 am August 6th, 2014

Hello Tammy. I’m sorry to hear that your grandson is facing such problems. Fry may contain PCP, which is an addictive drug. It can negatively affect the hormones associated with normal growth and development, and it can also impede the learning process. Long term use can lead to memory loss, difficulty with speech or thought, depression, and weight loss. The problems caused by fry (marijuana or tobacco cigarettes dipped in PCP (phencyclidine) can persist for up to a year after an individual has stopped smoking it. Unfortunatley, there may be some brain damage and cognition impairments that can be irreversable.

9:18 am August 25th, 2014

What does it do to your brain and can you recuperate your braincells? How do you recuperate your cells or do you loose any?

6:24 am September 2nd, 2014

Hello Angel. Embalming fluid or “Fry” contains PCP (phencyclidine) which is an addictive drug. It interferes with the brain’s normal functioning, can cause memory and learning impairments, has unpleasant psychological effects-making users suicidal and/or violent, and it affects hormones associated with growth and development.

Scientific studies conducted on rats have found that PCP can cause a kind of brain damage called Olney’s lesions. It has also been shown to cause schizophrenia-like changes in N-acetylaspartate and N-acetylaspartylglutamate in rat’s brains. Keep in mind that it human it has the same effect and induces symptoms that mimic those of schizophrenia.
Long term use leads to irreversable brain changes and damage,

11:10 pm October 19th, 2014

Suprised this article didn’t mention the story about Big Lurch, the rapper, who is serving life without the possibility of parole for ripping a woman’s heart literally out of her chest with his bare hands and eating it. The cops found him walking butt naked in the middle of the night.
I know of someone who attacced a cop inside a dennys in Washington and was subsequently killed by another cop. also know of someone from seattle who actually did microwave his infant son to death… among other stories. I did it twice and left it alone, but a lotta young gang members in LA, seattle and other areas use it regularely because it makes you fearless and aggressive.

1:18 pm October 30th, 2014

I am desperate. Please help. My 19 yr old is shooting up “water” – just found out. please tell me what to do and how to get him help. what are the consequences of such usage?

God bless

12:59 pm November 7th, 2014

Hi Louise. If he’s using pure water, he faces no health risks. But, if it’s tap water, botteled water or any other kind of water not intended for medical purposes, he can be in danger of infections and bacteria. Still, it’s not good to shoot up anything in your body, so have an open talk with him. Ask him why is he injecting water. Then, speak your mind about how you believe he’s harming himself and tell him you don’t approve. Be loving and kind, don’t be strict-that will only push im away.

6:37 pm January 25th, 2015

Does doing embalming make your skin look younger

john xx
4:50 am February 26th, 2015

I have smoked this unfortunately maybe 15-25 times in a time period between 6-10 months i believe, now it’s been a long time since last time and I’m not even planning to…my question is: do all these exposures lead to cancer? Or my case in particular, which i see as a moderate exposure…if anyone has any information please let me know because I’m scared to death

1:34 pm March 1st, 2015

Embalming Fluid is not the same as PCP. Either you’re confused or mixed up or that 17 yr old kid is confused on what embalming fluid actually IS, because they are not the same…nor are they combined in any mixture form in any way for any reason at all…no. In the 1970s “embalming fluid” was the name given to what is now a “wet” pcp thing…more less. So that’s y ppl can get confused on what those really are and what is in pcp. So the ACTUAL FLUID USED FOR DEAD BODIES is the “TERM” that can be reffered to dipping a cig into liquid pcp (it’s just watered down…literally lol…bit of water nothing else is used lol) and smoking the cig as ONE form of using PCP…so just like Angel Dust is the same thing as PCP…and both are the street terms for the actual chemical name (ph something forgot the spelling)…is the same as the street name “wet” “illy” for using it through a cigarette…so embalming fluid is just one of the slangs..JUST THE WORD NOT THE LITERALL CHEMICAL. So pcp+water=liquid pcp with the street slang emglaming fluid but it is not ever mixed with soluted combined..TOUCHING EACH OTHER OR RELATING TO EACH OTHER OR SIMILAR IN ANY WAY lol…pcp is actually close to ketamine so NOT the same. One of yall is confused or that kid lied

4:39 pm March 30th, 2015

Could you die from it ?

4:35 am April 13th, 2015

I have an old friend that was on this horrible stuff. I’ve heard he’s not using anymore but idk for sure. He has side effects that will never go away from using. It’s awful! June 2014 he tried to commit suicide by jumping off an overpass onto the highway that runs through town, luckily a passer by called police and they got there just in time to pull him back over, he was losing his grip and was probably less than a minute from falling and being gone. He was hospitalized and from what I know he’s in a group home/half house right now. I saw him on a street corner around Easter time in 2014 as well asking for money, I have gave him some and I pray he didn’t use it for drugs. He’s also been diagnosed with schizophrenia and does well while on the meds but he hasn’t been taking them. His brain is completely fried and he will never be the same again but so at he still knows who you are an can carry on a conversation. Please nobody get into using embalming fluid or any other drug! It’s not worth it.

12:40 pm April 14th, 2015

Hi Malik. “Embalming fluid” is actually a mixture of formaldehyde, methanol, and other solvents. Long-term use and exposure to large doses of these chemicals, especially by smoking can lead to many side effects. The list of side effects is quite long but in order to answer your question, embalming fluid causes lower respiratory effects such as bronchitis, pulmonary edema, pneumonia, asthma and dermatitis, and asphyxiation in poorly ventilated. So, Yes! Embalming fluid bears the potential for many health risks and damages and may have a fatal outcome.

4:08 am April 17th, 2015

Thoses who have a love one,No someone or jus see someone who smokes pcp..Can someone open a program for pcp smokers n can we jus bring them in to get help without there permission to get them some help..

7:22 pm June 16th, 2015

I smoked wat I was told as wet,water,fry. I have alot of issues with asthma, Bronchospasms,nephmonia,fms,cfs,migraines. I’m wondering if smoking the emboming fluid messed my lungs up now. I have not smoked it in over 15 yrs. I’d like more information on the damage physically done to our lungs and brain after stopping it.

7:26 pm June 16th, 2015

When I smoked it I felt numb like I was walking on the moon I walked to my room and layed in my bed then could not move I fell asleep and woke the next day.

3:52 pm June 17th, 2015

Hi Renee. If I understand correctly, you smoked embalming fluid 15 years ago and are now experiencing lung problems. Did these problems occur chronically after stopping or are showing up just now, all at the same time? Have you seen a pulmonary specialist to get examined and address your conditions and concerns? I suggest you do get checked by a doctor who specializes in lung (pulmonary) conditions.

5:54 am September 29th, 2015

Is there help for people on the embalming fluid

7:40 am October 8th, 2015

My niece who is on a lot of medications due to her illness (the pain in her face that causes people to want to commit suicide). I took her in for a urine speciman so she could get her meds and the doctor told her she had PCP in her urine. She swore she didn’t even know what that was or where to get it and her son stuck by her. She was walking to Walmart one day and picked up a few cigarette butts from the ground and smoked them. Could this turn up in her system if someone on PCP had smoked them or if they were laced with PCP. She is trying to come up with some ideas to clear herself of this. She was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago (she tried to commit suicide) and thought maybe something they gave her mixed with some of her other meds and made it look like she had PCP in her system. Is that possible? Thanks.

3:37 pm October 9th, 2015

Hi Hope. Yes, there is, treatment providers don’t only treat drug or alcohol addictions. You can ask your doctor for a referral to a local treatment facility or search on you own here:

1:55 pm October 18th, 2015

What can can i do if a family members is smoking that thing

2:13 pm October 20th, 2015

How long do wet stay in your system if smoked it once

9:24 pm October 22nd, 2015

If I smoked 1 blunt of PCP and its been a week will it show up in my urine

momma bear
3:11 pm October 26th, 2015

My youngest cub is schizophrenic bipolar 1. He is currently experiencing his 4th mental health hospitalization in 2 years. But this is the first time he tested positive for pcp. May I take a moment to say WHAT A BAD COMBINATION THAT IS!!
My question is can PCP be inhaled through a vap (electronic cigarette) by adding the PCP in some form to the vap oil?

3:59 pm October 26th, 2015

Hi momma bear. Studies have showed that vaping fluids contain formaldehyde besides other chemicals. Formaldehyde widely used and toxic chemical that manufacturers add to embalming fluid. So, I’m not sure if your son was vaping embalming fluid (which would have caused horrible effects) or he was simply using an e-cigarette that contained PCP, so it was detected in the test.

2:16 pm November 4th, 2015

HI Glendine. Anything is possible at this point. What did the doctors say?

4:16 pm November 15th, 2015

I have a friend on it wht can i do help them.

11:01 pm November 17th, 2015

Hello James. I believe that intervention is an excellent starting point when talking about addiction. Further, your friend will need help of addiction professionals, and of course, your love and support. Here’s an article on “How to help a friend with addiction”: I believe that you will find it useful. Also,you can call the helpline number displayed on our page to start the process of helping your friend.

4:06 pm December 3rd, 2015

My kids father has been smoking that stuff for years he stop in 2013 but he be messing with me driving me crazy I think it damage he’s brain cause he smoke it for so long he been smoking sense 1998 so did it do something to him……

8:13 pm December 3rd, 2015

How does this people get this thing because i think we need to know and get rid of the source.

5:07 am December 7th, 2015

If i smoked pcp on august.15 will it b out urine on dec 7

7:50 am December 9th, 2015

My brother was doing this embalming fluid several times, before he was the greatest kid ever now he’s all messed up, after doing it he then started mixing chemicals like carpet cleaners, any kinds of cleaners and doing them, now he is not the same person at all, he talks about crazy stuff like us his family are shape shifters, and he gets REALY vicious and angry. What does it do to the human body if a human does these kinds of chemicals?

4:16 pm December 9th, 2015

Hello Jerica. I suggest you can read this article to learn more about the effects of smoking embalming fluid: I hope this helps you understand more about what is happening to your brother and how you can help him eventually.

1:45 am December 24th, 2015

What if someone injected meet with Embalming licquid and u eat it what can happen?

6:25 pm January 9th, 2016

Can it scar you for life ?

8:46 pm January 13th, 2016

Can men produce kids while smoking adominant fluid

2:05 pm January 17th, 2016

My son smokes the cigarettes lace with embalming fluid n he gets like a zombie can’t talk or move don’t know what’s going on is there a number or place that can help me with him he is on Parole

10:25 pm January 26th, 2016

can smokimg pot dipped in embalming fuid make my potaaium high

1:01 pm January 30th, 2016

Can u get messed up permanently from smoking it one time, or over a period of time.

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About Andrew Seaward

Andrew Seaward is the author of Some Are Sicker Than Others. Although he makes his living as a chemical engineer in the Oil & Gas industry, his true passion is telling great stories through both acting and writing. He is a member and contributor of Benjy Dobrin Studios, the Cinematic Arts of Colorado and the Lighthouse Writers Workshop. He has written and acted in several short and feature length films, one of which won an Award of Merit at the 2010 Indie Fest.

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