Continuing America's rich tradition of semi-legal highs with embarrassing names and dangerous side effects, New Jersey police say they are now contending with people drinking something called “Catnip Cocktail” which is sold as an anti-anxiety supplement for pets.
It’s unclear who formulates or distributes Catnip Cocktail, but the manufacturer’s website warns their product is “NOT approved for human consumption.” And with good reason: Alongside other obscure ingredients like “Rauwolfia Vomitoria Extract,” Catnip Cocktail contains a substance called 1,4-BD. Once inside the human body, this compound metabolises into the more familiar GHB, a drug commonly associated with date rape.
According to Fairfield Police, multiple incidents of individuals acting erratically near a strip mall supplement store off Route 46 culminated last week with the arrest of the Nutrition Zone’s manager, John Sirico, 48. The allegations connecting the drug reactions to Catnip Cocktail and the Nutrition Zone are fairly compelling.
In July, 2018, police say:
[O]fficers were called to investigate an individual who was dancing, yelling and generally acting abnormally in front of a hair salon in the same strip mall where the Nutrition Zone is located [...] he was allegedly having a variety of mood swings to including being very friendly one moment, then being confused and angry the next. Six bottles of Catnip Cocktail were found in his possession along with a receipt indicating they were purchased at the Nutrition Zone.
And in November, 2018, they say:
[A] citizen caller alerted police to an erratic driver travelling [sic] west on Route 46 [...] the driver allegedly was acting irrationally, was extremely confused and unaware of his surroundings. Found in his vehicle were several bottles of Catnip Cocktail.
Finally, in February, 2019, police say:
[O]fficers were called outside of Retro Fitness, located on Route 46 East, for an unresponsive male [...] A bottle of Catnip Cocktail was found in his possession.
While federally unscheduled, 1,4-BD is illegal to possess in New Jersey, which, unfortunately for Sirico, is where he operates his store. He’s alleged to have stashed some 61 bottles of the BD-containing Catnip Cocktail in the Nutrition Zone along with almost 30 bottles of human growth hormone and “seven high capacity handgun and rifle magazines.”
Photo: Fairfield PD
Other ingredients in Catnip Cocktail, like caffeine, suggest the product is not clinically useful for, and may in fact be harmful to, pets. So maybe don’t buy a GHB precursor if you want to enhance Buttons – or anyone else’s – mood.