Now that deaths from drug overdoses outnumber traffic fatalities in America, we can probably assume pretty safely by this point that the war on drugs has become just as much of an unwinnable quagmire as Cleveland's chances of claiming a sports championship. For the sports impaired, none of what I just said was a Family Guy reference.
Or, maybe, just maybe, we've been fighting with the wrong ammo. "Scaring kids straight" with omelettes and celebrity finger-wagging obviously isn't cutting it, so maybe it's time to terrify the living shit out of the little bastards. And maybe we could start by showing them some of the lesser-known but impossibly horrific drugs that exist in the world's filthiest, most desperate hellholes, such as the slums of Russia, the Colombian narco-underworld, and Florida. Hell, I wouldn't blame you if you have a hard time looking at Pixy Stix again after seeing the effects of drugs like ...
5 Scopolamine: The Devil's Breath
Like a lot of illicit substances, scopolamine actually has some beneficial uses and has even been used by NASA as an anti-nausea medication (though this may just be a convenient cover for some of the more hard-partying astronauts). Derived from the nightshade family of plants, it's also quite handy for anesthesia recovery, irritable bowel syndrome, and the treatment of Parkinson's disease. But scopolamine isn't all about firmer poops and seasickness cures. One rather ominous nickname for it is the Devil's breath. And an even scarier one is the most dangerous drug in the world, because it's just fantastic for when you want to rob people and/or turn them into your personal zombie-slaves.
Although scopolamine in its most processed form looks exactly like cocaine, it's not really for recreational purposes. Well, unless your idea of fun is to blow mind-control powder into the faces of unwitting victims to make them do your evil bidding. Scopolamine is reportedly popular among criminals in Colombia who spike the drinks of unsuspecting dupes or simply blow it onto them voodoo-style. Then, once the drug has achieved the desired effect of rendering those same dupes highly susceptible to suggestion, it's time to lead the victim over to the nearest ATM to empty out their bank account or make them happily agree to whatever other nefarious activity springs to mind. Like forcing you to play Superman 64.
Oh. So I guess I need to find another way to get the neighbors to buy my kid's Girl Scout cookies.
The above image comes from an interview with a woman who claims to have actually engaged in these kinds of crimes. There have been some overblown examples of the powers of scopolamine out there, but as ridiculous and urban-legendary as falling prey to an attractive lady who's smeared a zombie drug all over her boobs sounds, it's apparently enough of a possibility that the Department Of State felt the need to issue a warning.
As a bonus for Colombian crooks, one of the main sources of this drug happens to be the local borrachero (loosely translated as "drunken binge") tree. Not to mention that those who have come under the influence of the Devil's breath usually remember nothing about the incident and rarely notify the authorities. Keeping that in mind, there were nearly 1,200 scopolamine-related crimes reported in 2012, and rough, unconfirmed estimates put the real number at somewhere around 50,000. And then there's the statistic that I completely made up just now, showing that over 100 trillion people have been victims.
So, while scopolamine may not be all it's cracked up to be in regards to being the most efficient means of assembling your minion army of obedient bikini zombies, its terror credentials are solidified by the fact that Dr. Josef Mengele saw fit to use it during interrogations and that intelligence organizations up to and including the CIA have explored its potential as a "truth serum." Because the entire world is inching ever closer to becoming a bad spy movie.
Whenever you see a news story about a public defecator, an amusement park employee who flung his semen around a Walmart, or some dude who danced on a police car to save kids from vampires, the smart money says it probably took place in Florida. America's wang has long been the nation's preeminent source of exposed genitalia-based absurdity, and thanks to a new drug that's gaining in popularity, things seem to be rapidly getting even stupider.
The drug is called flakka. It's believed to be coming in from China, India, and Pakistan and is basically a cheap synthetic stimulant along the lines of meth, bath salts, and that old "strip naked, run through a glass window, then Greco-Roman the nearest cop" favorite, PCP. But somehow this new drug seems to be earning its nickname -- $5 insanity -- by making users flip out harder than any angel dust or bath salts episode. Sounds impossible, right? Well, let's try this: Think of the most ludicrous PCP story you've ever heard. Now try this one, where a guy shook off a Taser like it ain't no thang and then tried to stab a cop with his own badge.
OK, seems pretty garden variety so far, though "stabbing a cop with his own badge" is certainly a cut above the average fare. But what really propels this incident into the realm of the spectacular is that the dude tried to fuck a tree and claimed that he was Thor.
Holy shit. While even the most outrageous of drug freakouts have one, maybe two, elements of the bizarro, this guy hit the bedlam trifecta. Isolated incident? Well, $5 insanity was also apparently the catalyst when a man used his foot and a rock in an attempt to break into Fort Lauderdale Police headquarters, and also when another guy came to the same police station and impaled himself through the buttocks on a fence spike during another B&E attempt. Sure, these two were higher than Andean condors at the time, but, just in case, maybe the Fort Lauderdale PD should post a sign announcing that applications can now be filled out online.
Maybe they heard about the fantastic production values put into the average roll call briefing.
Then there was the fellow who vaped flakka and proceeded to strip naked, climb onto the roof of an apartment building, and then fire a gun into the air while screaming, "I feel delusional, and I'm hallucinating!" While that last part was certainly helpful for anyone in the vicinity who may have been confused by his behavior, this scenario is a good example of how flakka can, according to a drug treatment counselor with the Broward Sheriff's Office, "actually start to rewire the brain chemistry." According to him, users have "no control over their thoughts. They can't control their actions. It seems to be universal that they think someone is chasing them. It's just a dangerous, dangerous drug." I'm sure the long-suffering Florida cops are grateful for this insight and are likely at this very moment incorporating this information into new departmental procedures under the title "Yeah, No Shit."