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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 ...

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.


CBS Chicago

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.

Aye, the Florida coast is home to many treasures. Also foreclosures, ID theft, and fraud.

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."

CBS Chicago
But at least it's nice to see that the dealers are such big Florida Gators supporters.

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Some people will tell you that LSD is just great and that psychedelic drugs in general allow the user to expand their consciousness and achieve levels of insight that would be impossible without chemical assistance. You can usually find them selling vegan tacos from a filthy van near the boardwalk. But just as there are "good trips" resulting from the use of mind-altering substances, there are also the really, really bad ones. And then there are the ones that screw with not just how you see the world around you but how you hear it.

At least you might have an excuse for that Kajagoogoo CD your girlfriend found.

DiPT (diisopropyltryptamine) and its variant 5-MeO-DiPT (also known as foxy methoxy) are hallucinogens along the same lines as LSD. But instead of making you see trippy colors, shifting shapes, seven-headed babies with the faces of the Gilligan's Island cast crawling out of the floorboards and such, what's most notable about DiPT is that it can screw with your auditory functions. In small amounts the effect is said to be similar to the flanging and phase-shifting pedals a teenage guitarist might overuse to cover up for the fact that he cannot in fact play guitar. Taking higher doses is kind of like being hit by multiple darts from a cartoon blowgun, in that your perception of pitch can be radically altered, with certain sounds seeming a full octave lower than they actually are. And, what's more, these effects can be nonlinear, meaning that everything entering your ears becomes an ever-increasing cavalcade of nonsense.

In case you were wondering what a Bjork cover band would sound like
if all the members were whales.

So what's the point, exactly, in taking a drug that makes going to a Pink Floyd laser light show even more pointless than usual? Foxy methoxy comes in powder, liquid, tablet, and capsule forms, so there's potential for all kinds of confusion for concert-goers. People who might be looking to enhance their musical experience might actually wind up hearing something entirely different from what is actually happening onstage. And if we, as a society, don't take a stand and put a stop to the manufacture of drugs like these, KISS could theoretically be touring for the next 20 years.

George De Sota/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
And your grandmother is seriously getting too old to be giving birth to your new Uncle Starchild.



Let's get this out of the way quick: Reports of jenkem, which is the alleged practice of inhaling methane fumes from bottled human feces, having any kind of impactful presence whatsoever in the United States are highly exaggerated (read: completely bogus). It seems a few years ago somebody tipped off the Collier County Sheriff's Office (Florida again!) that kids were huffing poop, and they dutifully (if rather preemptively) began disseminating a bulletin to warn their officers of the threat. Then, of course, the media got involved and had everyone convinced for a few minutes that shit-snuffling was running rampant in American schools.

Collier County Sheriff's Office
Yeah, there's no need to be too skeptical when kids are telling you
to watch out for "Leeroy Jenkems" and "butthash."

But while the U.S. jenkem scare was shown to be nothing but a silly hoax, it may very well be a real thing in places like Zambia. I'm not quoting the Daily Mail or some bullshit here; this is a report from the BBC (and I'm not talking about the porn genre).

There's only one place in the world where getting high off fermented sewage has been reported to be an actual phenomenon: Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. And though when you're cripplingly poor there's always the likelihood you could resort to doing desperate things, the fact that the word "jenkem" is amazingly close to the name of a local glue manufacturer may be more than mere coincidence.

Is sniffing your own shit really any worse than boiled horses?

But whether you believe there are actually people in the world inhaling sun-baked butt sludge for kicks or not, the mere rumor of the phenomenon has apparently had some unintended consequences, thanks mainly to the emergence of YouTube and the continuing existence of monumentally stupid people.

The cast of Jackass is at this very moment researching nearby military academies to send this kid to.

So, was this guy actually smoking human shit, or was it a fake? It doesn't matter, because both options are equally terrible. As if the Internet wasn't already enough of a hazardous minefield of degradation and filth, jenkem's legacy has left America with young mental deficients who are mistaking the ingestion of human feces with entertainment as if they'd just spent the summer touring German pornography conventions. However, as a deterrence measure, these kinds of clips might in fact be more effective for preventing impressionable youth from going astray than exposure to the the worst inner-city street junkie. Just click on a video like the one below and say, "Do you really want to wind up like this fucking asshole?"

"This is my dog on brain. I mean my brain on shit. I mean ... oh to Hell with it. I need to wrap
this up before mom gets home from the thalidomide plant."

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Krokodil: The Flesh-Eating Zombie Drug

Michael Bird/The Black Sea

There are some who call krokodil, the street name for desomorphine, the world's deadliest drug. While there are other substances that could arguably also make that claim, what's absolutely definitive is the fact that typing "krokodil" into a Google Images search is one of the best methods available for convincing your stomach to propel last night's Tuna Helper in a spectacular, several-yard-long arc. I fully realize that many of you are now going to immediately perform one or possibly both of these actions, but don't say I didn't fucking warn you.

The aftermath of an actual crocodile attack is generally less gross.

What krokodil is, in addition to a British metal band with a singer who scream-croaks like an emphysemic orc, is a cheap opioid derivative of codeine. It's basically a heroin knockoff for people who find heroin too aristocratic and highbrow. Like heroin, it can be shot up via syringe. It can also be cooked up by amateurs, like meth. But unlike either of those (usually, at least), krokodil involves a rather haphazard DIY production process that often leaves sizable doses of caustic materials like gasoline, oil, alcohol, or paint thinner in the drug itself. And most doctors are generally in agreement that none of the above should ever be injected into one's veins, unless one is either a lawnmower or a landfill. The results, and I'm showing you one of the least-horrific examples here, can leave you winding up with a little problem like this (WARNING: That link leads to some pretty gross shit. If you do click it, you might not want to scroll down, because it gets much, MUCH worse).

The name "krokodil" comes from the fact that users of this drug frequently develop scaly, reptilian skin, and that's the best-case scenario. It was developed in its modern form by desperate Russian addicts who discovered that all they needed were some over-the-counter codeine pills and some random kitchen products to make it, and there's a reason why it's been referred to as "the drug that eats junkies." And no, I'm not going to elaborate on that time a woman shot it up into her genitals. I'd feel terrible about sounding like I'm exaggerating wildly on a topic like this, so let's let Dr. Abhin Singla, an internist and addiction specialist at the Joliet, Illinois, Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center, go ahead and do that for us:

"It's a zombie drug -- it literally kills you from the inside out. If you want [a] way to die, this is a way to die."

The fact that it originated in Russia is the least-shocking part about this drug.

The thing is, though, that's not hyperbole. It is a goddamn zombie drug. Once it's in your system, blood vessels start to pop and surrounding tissue can necrotize until your flesh starts falling off. The average user is estimated to live about two years, which actually sounds pretty conservative, considering that it makes leprosy look like a mild case of bacne. There was a brief scare last year when the "Look out! Sharks!" sensationalist media tried to get everyone riled up about an impending krokodil epidemic in places like Arizona and Texas, but it turned out to be a typically false alarm. This just goes to show that drug addicts can access the Internet just like everyone else, and like every other citizen in America, they weren't so anxious to have their faces melt off just to get high. At least until we see a celebrity do it first.

E. Reid Ross also explores the mortal threat of riding mowers over at Man Cave Daily. Feel free to follow him on Twitter here.

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