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'Angel Dust' Redux

Kids smoking embalming fluid to get high

The never-ending search for feel-good drugs has led many young people to smoke chemicals that are used in embalming fluid, reports this ABC News story.

One of embalming fluid's major ingredients is formaldehyde, a colorless preservative. Kids are smoking cigarettes or marijuana soaked in formaldehyde for an enhanced high, similar to the extreme high resulting from use of the veterinary medicine phencyclidine (PCP), better known as "Angel Dust." One problem is that it's legal to buy formaldehyde.

Inhaled formaldehyde and PCP, however, produce considerably more than a high. Violent and psychotic side effects, like feelings of invincibility, aren't unusual. The similarity between highs produced by the two chemicals is the subject of Dr. Julie Holland's Web site.

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