Scopolamine, also known as hyoscine, has a bad reputation in South America, where there are horror tales of people allegedly inhaling the powdery substance or taking it without their knowledge when mixed in a drink, and then waking up days later in an unfamiliar place, dazed and confused, without any knowledge of how they got there. The drug is a potent amnesia substance and can rid a user of their memory.

Not only are people who fall victim to an attack with scopolamine more vulnerable to being sexually assaulted or robbed, but someone can commit a crime without any recollection of it while under its influence. Abusing this drug can come with dire consequences because it is highly addictive for some individuals that can be more prone to its chemical properties.


What is Scopolamine?

Scopolamine is a drug that is usually prescribed to treat nausea or vomiting quite successfully and is very effective when used under medical supervision. The World Health Organization lists it as essential medicine that is safe and effective, with genuine medical applications. Aside from nausea, scopolamine is used to treat motion sickness, seasickness, irritable bowel syndrome, and nausea or vomiting caused following surgery. Despite these beneficial uses, as in the case of many legal prescription drugs, there is a way to abuse hyoscine.

How is Scopolamine Administered?

When used for medical purposes, the substance can be administered orally or intravenously, in which case it takes effect very quickly. There is also a patch, sold over-the-counter, which is placed behind the ear. Scopolamine is found in most supermarkets and pharmacies in the United States.

Scopolamine also comes in powder form, which makes it an ideal drug to abuse and there are some creative ways in which users can have access to it. Some grocery stores sell the hyoscine pills, which can be crushed and snorted or smoked. They can also be ingested by mixing the powder with a liquid and drinking it. Herein lies the dangers, as scopolamine is known as a date rape drug, because it’s tasteless and can be mixed with a drink without any obvious traces.

Even the patches are not safe because the medication can be extracted and made into an illegal drug for distribution on the streets. People who abuse scopolamine describe the feelings of euphoria as intoxicating and highly pleasurable. The speed in which the drug takes effect is extremely fast and people that are vulnerable become addicted easily.

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Where Does Scopolamine Come From?

Scopolamine comes from the Borrachero trees that are usually found in certain areas of Colombia. Interestingly, borracho in Spanish is translated to English as drunk, which is an apt description of the dangerous side effects this drug can have when used improperly. Dealers in the South American country are no strangers to drug distribution and they have found a new, substance that is as devastating as coke or heroin.

The tales of victims that have been served a drink laced with powdered scopolamine, which has been dubbed Devil’s Breath, are terrifying and even some governments, including the CIA have reportedly experimented with it, while others were still using it a few short years ago.

Side Effects of Scopolamine

Because people are rendered impaired due its side effects, scopolamine is used to commit serious crimes, such as sexual assault, kidnapping, and robbery, among others. There are allegedly, 50,000 criminal assault cases related to scopolamine abuse in Colombia every year and according to hospital data, one in five emergency visits are due to hyoscine poisoning. Seventy-percent of those patients, report being assaulted in some manner.

While some in the medical profession have strong doubts, there is some credence to the reports that there is a danger, even when someone comes into contact with the powder indirectly and users have compared the effects of scopolamine as being momentarily “zombified”.

These are some of the most alarming effects this drug can have on a person:

  • Unconsciousness that last as long as 24-hours, sometimes more depending on the dose,

  • Amnesia,

  • Hallucinations,

  • Loss of free will,

  • Extreme submissiveness,

  • Extreme dry mouth.

The drug traffic and abuse has received attention from the U.S. government, which issued a warning to travelers in 2012, citing an increase in reports of criminals in Colombia using disabling drugs to temporarily incapacitate their victims.

Because scopolamine causes loss of consciousness, women are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault and other crimes when under its debilitating effects. In addition, a common modus operandi for criminals is to use attractive young woman, who slip the powder into a drink, to lure wealthy foreign men. Some of the scariest reports indicate criminals will blow scopolamine powder into a victim’s face rendering them weak or unconscious and then assault them.

Due to the amnesia-like side effects, Scopolamine has a disturbing history and has allegedly been used by corrupt lawyers when questioning suspects charged with a crime and abused throughout history as an effective interrogation tool.

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How Does Someone Become Addicted to Scopolamine?

When people think of drug addiction, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana come to mind, but not many know about scopolamine. Due to the highs hyoscine brings to users, it is one of the most dangerous drugs out on the market because it not can not only make a person vulnerable to being assaulted, but it can also make an individual commit a crime and not remember.

With this serious addicting properties, it is surprising there is not more emphasis on removing the easily accessible drug from the market or putting in mechanisms to control the distribution to patients, much like is the case with opioids. Anyone can walk into a pharmacy and get over-the-counter scopolamine.

The side effects from a scopolamine overdose can range from dizziness and blurred vision to convulsions or death. If a person is served an alcoholic drink mixed with the drug, the side effects can be intensified even more. Therefore, scopolamine is sometimes called the scariest drug in the world.

Signs of Scopolamine Addiction

Using dopamine to avoid nausea from flying or being on a cruise ship during vacation is something people do all the time, but scopolamine use should come with a strong warning because of the extreme euphoria it can cause which can result in addiction. These are some of the signs to look out for if there is potential scopolamine addiction in a friend or loved one:

  • Withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug,

  • Depression,

  • Feeling relaxed,

  • Relationship or work problems,

  • Altered behavior patterns,

  • Financial problems.

What are the Benefits of Scopolamine?

After going over the seriously bad side effects and used scopolamine has, it’s hard to believe the drug can be used to benefit anyone, however, under medical supervision it has a proven track record and is effective in treating motion sickness and in obstetrics, to induce an amnesia state during childbirth, reducing labor pains. Hyoscine is a cholinesterase inhibitor and is being used in Alzheimer’s research because scientists believe it slows down the breakdown of acetylcholine to help relieve the dementia symptoms.

Like with any substance abuse, a person who is addicted to scopolamine will withdraw from friends and family and become erratic. Their drug use becomes their priority regardless of other obligations like family activities or work responsibilities. Scopolamine can bring them extreme highs and when they are not using it, they may be thinking of when their next experience may come. This is one of the most addictive drugs nobody is talking about and the fact that it’s readily available in pharmacies and grocery stores over-the-counter, makes it even more dangerous.

Just like with the cocaine and heroin addiction, drug dealers in places like Colombia have found a new substance to market, not only in their own country, but around the world, including the United States. What can be scarier than encountering a situation where someone can attack you just by blowing a powder in your direction? Some medical experts think that is a bit farfetched, to say the least, however, victims swear their experiences are real.

Even though it is very difficult to overcome a scopolamine addiction, according to research, we can help you with your addiction, if you give us a call. We will customize a treatment based on your own personal needs and current addiction level. The important thing is to make that first call and turn your life around and be the person you want to be for yourself, your friends, and loved ones.

Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-276-2886 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.

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