Disturbing use of Catnip Cocktail by people increasing, police say

Catnip Cocktail is marketed as a sedative for animals, but humans are using it to get high, New Jersey police said.

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Police in Fairfield found 61 bottles of Catnip Cocktail for sale when they raided a vitamin shop Thursday, the News12NewJersey reported.

John Sirico of Tafton, Pennsylvania, the owner of the Nutrition Zone in Fairfield, faces drug offenses and weapons charges, the North Jersey Record reported. According to a statement by borough police Chief Anthony Manna, 29 bottles of human growth hormones, seven handguns and rifle magazines were discovered in the store.

Sirico was charged with three counts of third-degree possession of a Schedule 1 drug, two counts of second-degree possession with the intent to distribute, one count of third-degree possession with the intent to distribute, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, one count of possession of hypodermic syringes and seven counts of fourth-degree possession of high capacity magazines, according to Manna's statement.

According to Fairfield police, Sirico was selling Catnip Cocktail to customers who would use it to get high.

"It gives you a feeling of euphoria. It depresses your nervous system," Lt. Charles Zampino told News12NewJersey.

A bottle of Catnip Cocktail typically sells online for $20, according to The Washington Post. It is not available through the websites of major retailers like Petco, PetSmart and Pet Supplies Plus, the newspaper reported.

Police have documented several instances where catnip cocktail was used by humans.

In July 2018, authorities were called to the strip mall in Fairfield where Nutrition Zone is located, "to investigate an individual who was dancing, yelling and generally acting abnormally in front of a hair salon." Police said the man was experiencing mood swings that ranged from very friendly to confused and angry. According to the news release, police found six bottles of Catnip Cocktail in the man's possession, and a receipt showing it had been bought at Nutrition Zone.

In January 2018, a 35-year-old New Jersey man was arrested on DWI charges after police in Wayne said the suspect admitted to drinking a bottle of Catnip Cocktail before he began driving, WNBC reported.

"You'll have the effect that you're intoxicated, but there won't be any smell of liquor coming off your breath, so that would be why some people come in contact with it," Zampino told News12NewJersey.

In November 2018, Fairfield police stopped a 40-year-old man who was driving erratically, the North Jersey Record reported. The was "extremely confused, totally unaware of his surroundings and unable to answer simple questions," police said. The man was cursing and screaming in a high voice, the newspaper reported

According to its ingredients list, Catnip Cocktail does not contain catnip. However, its ingredients include caffeine and 1,4-butanediol, The Washington Post reported.

The mixture, while illegal at the federal level, is considered a Schedule 1 controlled dangerous substance under New Jersey's administrative code, the newspaper reported.

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

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