Scopolamine: Is this the most dangerous drug in the world?

June 18, 2013 5:31 pm

Scopolamine or “The Devils Breath” as it has become known, is a part hallucinogenic part delirium inducing drug native to the northern area of South America including Ecuador, Venezuela and of course Columbia. Its effects vary from being mildly euphoric (When mixed with opiates) to causing a zombie-like state that renders your power of free will useless.

Having been going around since as far back as Josef Mengele having it imported from Columbia to Germany for his own sick experiments to more recently during the cold war where it was included in the CIA’s infamous “Project MK ULTRA”, the drug is not exactly a new and deadly menace to our streets. It already has its horror stories firmly in tow and believe you me, some of them are pretty fucked up. The reason for this mainly due to its use by gangs of organised criminals who use its ability to render you a completely suggestible and controllable while on the outside remaining completely natural and articulate. Medically, this creates the perfect drug for committing crimes as along with making you a walking slave, the drug will also create an amnesic fog of confusion within your mind causing any recollection of the events during the “trip” impossible.

Hallucinations resulting from Scopolamine tend to be realistic, distinct, easily identifiable, panoramic and difficult to distinguish from reality. They also have the tendency to shrink in size during the course of the “trip”. This is in direct contrast to the typically vague, colourful and often ineffable hallucinations caused by psychedelics such as LSD. Scopolamine Structure

Growing wild and uncontrolled in most of the regions it calls home it is almost readily available to anyone with all that is needed once acquiring the extract of the brugmansia plant is a quick chemical reaction and hey presto, Scopolamine’s your uncle. It’s notoriety amongst those that live within its boundaries however is enough to stop most from simply picking and tripping. Despite being at war pretty much since its independence, its powerful drug cartels and rife corruption, you would do well to find a Columbian who wasn’t more scared of falling asleep under the Borrachero tree. And the reason for this fear is not undue. Gangs are known to blow minuscule amounts into the faces of passers by on the street in order to intoxicate them then watch until the drug kicks in and once they know it has they then proceed to go to work. A recent survey of emergency hospital admissions in Bogotá, Colombia, found that around 70 per cent of patients drugged with Scopolamine or “Burundanga” had also been robbed, and around three per cent sexually assaulted.

But is this the most dangerous drug in the world? Anything that destroys our ability to say “Hey wait! This isn’t right!” is certainly a scary thought but it isn’t the only drug capable of such fiendish effects. Another mind-melting substance that is a lot more common around the world is something called Phencyclidine or PCP.

PCP is known in drug circles around the world as a pretty heavy day out in your mind. While the majority of media reports on the effects of any drug are often grossly exaggerated and sensationalised, PCP does have a reputation of generating some of the most disturbing reports of people’s behaviour  during their time of intoxication. Rudy Eugene was just a regular 31 year old bloke before he was shot and killed by police in Miami a few years ago for beating and partially devouring the face of homeless Ronald Poppo. Eugene was described by his girlfriend of four months as a harmless devout Christian before his experience with PCP and it is believed he got hold of the substance through the regular sale of bath salts in which the compound was present. Another incident involving PCP was that of American gangsta rapper Big Lurch who is currently serving a life sentence for murdering 21 year old roommate Tynisha Ysais then eating parts of her body while high on PCP in 2002.

So, while the prospect of cannibalising your trip sitter may be a somewhat chilling one, the idea that your trip sitter could convince you to cannibalise yourself still, in my mind, remains a much more terrifying one.

While I could spend all day telling you about some of the most disturbing and outright crazy drug stories Ive been told or read it would be somewhat off subject. We all know someone who kidnapped a midget while on shrooms or jumped off their roof thinking they could fly while on acid and while the majority of these stories are a great talking point for campfire banter or persuading your kids not to do drugs most are fabricated by people wanting to be told “Cool Story, Bro”. However, there are exceptions to every rule and you can bet that those exceptions are much worse than something the mind of some attention seeking, self appointed drug-guru made up to scare you out of buying that acid and going halves on a bag of mandy with him. Scopolamine-tree

While the lasting physical effects of Scopolamine may be small in comparison to other drugs the psychological effects of purely not knowing what happened to you during the time you were under can be more than enough for some. One victim described her self as very lucky to have only given away all of her and her boyfriends worldly possessions after being told to. Unfortunately others haven’t been that “lucky”.

Everyone knows drugs can be enjoyed sensibly with a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of caution, but what can be done to help those being randomly chosen to become the next victim of this sick crime. So besides cutting down every Borrachero tree in sight which itself is nigh on impossible given how common they are what can be done? Outlawing nature is a risky business and prohibition does nothing but fan the flames of an already huge criminal market, so is there anything else that can be done? I cannot begin to answer that question but what I can do is attempt to broaden the audience of the problem. Hope fully more brains working on the same problem can do what I cannot right?

Whatever drugs you’re into, be they uppers, downers, screamers or laughers one thing should be sure. Scopolamine should be way down deep in the dark and murky depths of your to do list right towards the bottom. Probably somewhere between having sex with a cactus and dying..

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