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Author Topic: Devil's Breath: Urban Legend or the World's Most Scary Drug?  (Read 4091 times)

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Two articles are contained herein and a link to a very deep study can be found at the bottom of the page.

Is it also nature's MKULTRA ?

Scopolamine is also known as HyoscineWiki.

source 1:

Devil's Breath: Urban Legend or the World's Most Scary Drug ?

Last updated on Feb 11, 2019.

A Datura bush on a random street in Bucharest.

Next time someone tries to hand you a business card, should you think twice before grabbing it?

Some would say “yes”. There are stories circulating that a chemical known as “Devil's Breath” is making its way around the world, being blown into faces and soaked into business cards to render unsuspecting tourists incapacitated. The result? A “zombie-like” state that leaves the victim with no ability to control their actions, leaving them at risk of having their bank accounts emptied, homes robbed, organs stolen, or raped by a street criminal. Are these sensationalized stories part of an urban legend or a factual crime scene?

Devil's Breath is derived from the flower of the “borrachero” shrub, common in the South American country of Colombia.

The seeds, when powdered and extracted via a chemical process, contain a chemical similar to scopolamine called “burandanga”. Borrachero has been used for hundreds of years by native South Americans in spiritual rituals.

The compound is said to lead to hallucinations, frightening images, and a lack of free will. Amnesia can occur, leaving the victim powerless to recall events or identify perpetrators.
According to a 1995 Wall Street Journal article, about half of all emergency room admissions in Bogota, Colombia were for burundanga poisoning. Scopolamine is also present in Jimson Weed (Datura stramonium), a plant found in most of the continental U.S.

And wouldn't you know it -- this street drug is available in prescription form, too. If you suffer from seasickness, maybe you've used scopolamine (Transderm Scop) on your last ocean adventure. The active ingredient is available in a 1 milligram transdermal patch worn behind your ear to help ward off motion sickness or postoperative nausea and vomiting.

The medicine slowly absorbs through the skin from a specialized rate-controlling membrane found in the patch. It's worn for three days before being replaced. The low dose and slow absorption helps to prevent severe side effects in most people. Scopolamine transdermal patch is not classified by the DEA as a controlled substance.

Controlled substance or not, there could be true illegal use of the drug. High doses or spiked drinks could cause issues. The State Department notes on their website that scopolamine can render a victim unconscious for 24 hours or more. In Colombia, where its use seems to be most widespread, “unofficial estimates” of scopolamine events are at roughly 50,000 per year. In large doses it can cause “respiratory failure and death”.

However, these effects are due to oral administration in “liquid or powder form in foods and beverages”, not being blown into one's face or absorbed via a piece of soaked paper. Not surprisingly, the majority of these Colombian incidents have occurred in night clubs and bars, reminiscent of the date-rape drug Rohypnol. However, some events in Colombia reportedly have an interesting twist: wealthy-appearing men are often targeted by young, attractive women; not the other way around.

Pharmacologically, scopolamine is classified as an anticholinergic medication and belladonna alkaloid.

Side effects like dry mouth, blurred vision, headache, urinary retention, and dizziness can occur even at the low dose used in the transdermal patch.

Overdoses can lead to a dangerous fast heart rate, dilated pupils, toxic psychosis, confusion, vivid hallucinations, seizures or coma, among other events.

Use with alcohol is warned against in the official package labeling.

Combining it with alcohol, as in a spiked drink, or with other sedative drugs would certainly hasten central nervous system depression. Confusion, disorientation, excitability, and amnesia could ensue with oral consumption.

But immediate “zombie-like” side effects by blowing it into someones face? That seems unlikely, from a pharmacologic standpoint. Others have also questioned the reports of robberies taking place when the powder is blown into someone's face or placed on a business card.

Accounts of scopolamine being used worldwide are available. In Paris, a report from Newsweek Europe surfaced that elderly people were being targeted by a Chinese international network. The U.S. State Department also warns on its website that travelers to Colombia may be at risk of robbery due to criminals using a variety of drugs, not just scopolamine.

Medical case reports have been published of women from London having prolonged headaches after possible clandestine scopolamine exposure. Reports of illegal use of scopolamine in the U.S. are available, but unsubstantiated. The reliability of these all of these reports are difficult to confirm.

Nonetheless, these news stories highlight an important travel point. To prevent assault due to scopolamine -- or any drug for that matter  -- follow these rules, as recommended by the U.S. State Department:

* Never leave food or drinks unattended when traveling.
* Do not accept food or drinks from strangers or new acquaintances.
* Travel in a large group when possible, and don't leave with a stranger.
* Always check the State Department's crime and safety warnings before traveling to a foreign country.
* Seek medical assistance immediately if you believe you have been drugged.

Is Devil's Breath actually scopolamine, an urban legend, or some other drug being used to incapacitate tourists ? Maybe it's a combination of all three. Urban legend or not, the use of drugs to incapacitate, rob or rape victims can and does happen domestically and internationally. Because of that, a dose of good sense should always be used to avoid being poisoned, whether traveling abroad or just going out for the night in your own hometown.

source 2:

Scopolamine: Is This Mind-Control Drug the “Most Dangerous” in the World ? [December 23, 2015]

After inhaling the “Devil’s Breath,” victims have been known to wake up with no memory of withdrawing their life savings and giving it away.

Scopolamine, dubbed the “Devil’s Breath,” is often referred to as the most dangerous drug in the world. Mainly prevalent in South America, the drug is used to commit the perfect crime — while under the influence of scopolamine, someone could convince you to willingly withdraw and give away your life savings from your bank account, but you would wake up and remember nothing.

What’s particularly unsettling is that anyone could be unknowingly sent under scopolamine’s strong spell within seconds. The drug comes in a powder form, and according to a documentary by VICE, people have been known to ask for directions and pull out a map sprinkled with the drug, or hand over a drug-soaked business card. Then, with just a quick blow of the powder into the victim’s face, he or she will expectedly lose all power of free will.

Scopolamine, also known as burundanga, is derived from nightshade plants. The drug is odorless and tasteless, and in high amounts, can be lethal.

Val Curran, a professor of pharmacology at UCL’s Clinical Pharmacology Unit, told The Guardian that high doses of scopolamine would “completely zonk you out” and “be completely incapacitating,” but she’s not totally convinced that the drug could remove free will. She says high doses would likely eliminate any memory of the night, but then again, so would high doses of alcohol or other benzodiazepines like Xanax or Valium.

The top legal dosage for scopolamine is set at .33 milligrams, and a dose of just 10 milligrams would be enough to send someone into a coma and possible death. Under what circumstances is this questionable drug legal? Interestingly, scopolamine is used in Alzheimer’s research, and is also used in very low doses to treat motion sickness via a transdermal patch.

NASA has mixed scopolamine with dexedrine to form a substance called scop-dex and then administered the drug to trainees during the reduced gravity program. They state that scop-dex drops the motion sickness rate to 15 percent or less.

Of course, since the drug can potentially strip someone of all rational thinking, scopolamine is surrounded by conspiracy theories. It is said to have the abilities of a “truth-serum,” and some stories claim that the drug was used in Nazi Germany as an interrogation tool, according to The Guardian.

The CIA has also been accused of using scopolamine to force the truth out of people, and a wild conspiracy theory states that the Batman movie shooter, James Holmes, was set up and drugged with scopolamine in order to brainwash him to commit the mass shooting. It sounds crazy, but these conspiracy theorists argue that the US government wanted to keep Holmes’ dad from testifying in a high-crime fraud case, and they point out all the strange things about Holmes that just don’t seem to add up.

In VICE’s documentary, Ryan Duffy travels to Colombia and interviews Demencia Black, a drug dealer in the area. Black says scopolamine is “worse than anthrax” and that, once someone is under the drug’s effects, “You can guide them wherever you want. It’s like they’re a child.”

Duffy also interviews some scopolamine victims in the video, and one woman recounts how a man asked her for directions, and then offered her a glass of juice (scopolamine can be slipped into drinks). She says she has no recollection of the following events, but she took the man to her house and helped him gather all of her belongings to steal, including her boyfriend’s expensive cameras and savings.

It remains somewhat of a mystery why scopolamine-related crimes seem to happen so frequently only in South America — if you haven’t even heard of the drug until now, it’s because scopolamine drugging rarely happens anywhere else around the world.

Dr. Les King, a chemist and former forensic scientist, told The Guardian that the idea that people could become zombified and stripped of their free will “seems pretty unlikely for a start,” and he says there’s no evidence the drug is being used in Europe. “The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction has never had any mention of scopolamine being used in this way.”

So it appears that places in South America are the only ones enduring these severe scopolamine-related crimes, but the history of the drug and how it seems to strip its victims of free will remains more of an enigma.

If someone asks for directions or hands you a business card, the chances that you’ll end up inhaling the “Devil’s Breath” are extremely small. But the drug’s notoriety serves as a reminder that it’s always best to stay alert when dealing with strangers. Waking up with a nasty hangover and no recollection of the night is one thing, but waking up with a ransacked apartment and empty bank account with no recollection of the night is another.

... and an study on "Scopolamine effects on functional brain connectivity: a pharmacological model of Alzheimer’s disease" can be found at

an excerpt of the abstract:

Scopolamine, a muscarinic receptor antagonist, produces a blocking of the activity of the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor, and the concomitant appearance of transient cognitive amnesia and electrophysiological changes, which resemble those observed in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

Indeed, to date, several studies have explored neurophysiological changes associated with scopolamine injection mirroring those observed in AD10. After scopolamine administration, quantitative electroencephalogram resting state studies have found decreased power in alpha and beta bands, and increased delta and theta activity.

Additionally, studies using coherence during resting-state have shown a decrease in this measure after scopolamine. Further, an interesting recent study on reconstructed EEG sources using LORETA9, found changes in brain activity following scopolamine administration, mainly at the precuneus. Taken together, these neurophysiological and cognitive alterations suggest that the administration of scopolamine may be an adequate approximation to simulate the modifications in brain activity that take place in AD.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2019, 11:39:08 AM by Chip »
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