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What is Scopolamine?

What is Scopolamine?

Scopolamine, one of the active ingredients in the datura plant, has been referred to as “the world’s scariest drug.” There are a variety of anecdotal reports about scopolamine being used to “zombify” victims so they can be robbed, raped, or worse. The drug has also been used as a method for suicide. For these reasons, the drug is often called the “devil’s breath.” Yet, despite the terrifying nature of the drug, people attempt to recreationally use datura for recreational reasons.

The dangerous effects of the drug were first introduced to a widespread audience by the Ryan Duffy in a 2012 Vice documentary entitled World’s Scariest Drug. Duffy spoke with a variety of Colombians who explained the extreme dangers of the drug and its uses for criminal reasons. Jeffrey Roberts, in a 2015 Collective Evolution article entitled “The Devil’s Breath—World’s Scariest Drug Can Block Free Will, Wipe Your Memory, & Even Kill You, explains, “Scopolamine has a remarkable ability to wipe its victims’ memory clean, so that the next day there is no recollection of what transpired while under its influence. Stories run rampant throughout Colombia of people being raped, having their bank accounts emptied, or even willingly giving up an organ.” According to the Vice documentary, scopolamine is used as a weapon by drug dealers, thieves, rapists, and sex workers.

Razvan Calinesuca, in a 2015 Vice article entitled ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Drug’ Grows Everywhere in Romania, explains, “The seeds are extremely potent and a quick skim of internet drug forums brings up a rake of terrifying bad trip accounts. There are literally thousands of stories from people who’ve completely lost their mind on only a few Datura seeds. Many can’t remember what they’ve done for days at a time and the stuff is so poisonous it can kill you. Some people have even used it to kill themselves.” The dangers of scopolamine extracted from datura cannot be understated. Duffy’s original goal for the documentary was to sample the drug himself. However, after the producer and cameraman of the documentary spent a few days in Bogota speaking with people who had experience with the drug, the decision was made that Duffy would not try it.  Duffy explained, “By the time we were wrapping things up and preparing to leave the country, I couldn’t wait to get as far away from Colombia and that drug as possible.”

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