Leapin' lizards! The things people will do to get high.
Originally posted on the Kansas City Star website.
A 21-year-old Kansas City, North, man arrested in October is accused of possessing a controlled substance.
Clay County authorities are worried that the unusual type of substance -- the venom of the Sonoran Desert toad of the Colorado River -- in the case against David S. Theiss is becoming popular.
Officials accuse Theiss of possessing the toad with the intent to extract the venom to smoke it.
Clay County Prosecutor Daniel White said the case is an example of the elaborate lengths some people are going to in order to get high.
White said possessing the toad is not illegal, but investigators, not familiar with the method, had to research the toad to make sure it is not a protected species.
White said Theiss was charged after investigators determined he allegedly possessed the toad with the intent to get high off its venom.
White said the toad has gained popularity because it secretes venom on its back when the creature becomes angry or frightened -- a venom that contains a hallucinogen called bufotenine.
The hallucinogen and what authorities refer to as 'toad smoking' are illegal, White said.
Authorities found the toad and other items when they went to a Northland residence to investigate a suspected meth lab. They later arrested Theiss and charged him with three counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia -- the toad.
For years, White said, people experimented with 'toad licking,' but toad smoking is considered a substitute. To do so, a person heats the frog's venom, which breaks down its toxins and preserves the hallucinogen. Then it's dried and smoked.
White said the use of a toad and extracts from natural plants to get high are becoming popular. He said there are some Internet sites that feature an instructional video on how to extract the toad's venom.
'It is easier to get it, and law enforcement might not immediately know you use it to get high,' White said. 'It's sort of a New Age way to get high. You convince yourself it is OK because it is something you get naturally from our environment.
'There are a lot of things that are created naturally but they are still not legal.'
Theiss is also accused of possessing mescaline, a controlled substance extracted from a cactus.
Still, White said, there are others who may be taking an even more extreme measure to get high -- such as sniffing fermented human waste.
Vicky Ward, manager of prevention services at Tri-County Mental Health Services, said she has seen e-mail warnings about kids getting high off a drug called jenkem. The drug, made from fermented feces and urine, isn't prevalent in the area, but kids are familiar with it, she said.
'We work with a lot of youths and we ask them whether anyone has tried it and they said no,' said Ward, who belongs to service e-mail groups for prevention specialists. 'They (the youths) have heard about it because it is on the Internet.'
Ward said Snopes.com, a Web site that investigates urban legends, indicates the use of jenkem is undetermined.
'Kids get ideas that later turn out to be unfounded, but you will get some idiots who will try anything,' she said.
For pity's sake, who was the first person to think, "Gee, I need a good buzz...let's see...hmm, no tequila, no beer...Hey! I've got it! I'll just give this little ol' toad a lick!"???? That's either someone who's desperate to get hopped up on something or other, or someone who doesn't have the sense God gave a rutabaga, to be licking a toad in the first place.
Of course, the former prosecutor here wants to know - how exactly did the police determine this guy possessed the toad with the intention to get high off its venom? Did they catch him in the act? If not, I wouldn't want to be the one taking that case to trial, because there'd really be no way to prove it short of actual viewing of the offense or the guy admitting he planned to do that.