The 10 street drugs that are destroying our youth, and our future
From drugs that eat through your skin to those that teleport you to another dimension, these substances are some of the most dangerous on the planet.
In the last comprehensive estimates undertaken in 2003, over 14 years ago, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that the total retail value of the global illicit drug trade was $320 billion; equivalent to 0.9 percent of the global GDP. But that was over a decade ago.
Since then, criminal organizations have streamlined operations to ensure more drugs get to more corners of the world than ever before. It's estimated that $316 billion has already been spent on illicit drugs this year and that number is only expected to rise.
Considering the massive power and wealth these organizations wield, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise to hear that their operations support entire economies.
The resurrection of 24-hour party people has meant that the drug business is thriving. Cocaine, once the rich man's drug, has been made available to everyone and because of its addictive nature, has millions in its grasps. Like every business, the drug business also runs on a principle of supply and demand; higher the demand, higher the price.
What gets patrons to keep crawling back to these drugs is their ability to activate and alter the supply of dopamine in the human body. Various other characteristics such as how much harm it causes, the drug's street value, its withdrawal symptoms and how pleasurable the users report it to be are used by experts to judge their addictiveness.
Innovations have meant a whole new host of drugs are now flooding the market with these 10 in particular, doing irreversible damage to our youth:
#10 Psychoactive bath salts
Bath salts derive its name from instances where the drug was sold disguised as bath salts and was originally synthesized in the 1920s. They were 'rediscovered' around 2009 and various underground druggies began using it recreationally. It's derived from a shrub called khat, which is indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa.
The drug causes huge stimulant effects, with users feeling its psychotic and jumpy effects for days at a time. Various stories tell of people committing murder, rape and other criminal acts after using the drug. Most users also experience increased blood pressure and heart rate, putting them at increased risk to die from heart attacks or organ failures.
#9 Crystal Meth
Crystal Meth or Methamphetamines are so dangerous, it has been placed in schedule II of the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty. First synthesized in Germany in 1887, the fact that it was water-soluble meant it was injectable directly into the bloodstream by syringe. Because it can elevate mood, increase alertness, concentration, and energy in fatigued individuals, reduce appetite, and promote weight loss, it was used by soldiers on both sides in World War II.
Following the end of the war, it was legal in the U.S and sold over the counter to deal with depression, with the abuse of the drug continuing until it was banned in 1970. While it has the potential to be used as a second-line treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity, the drawbacks far outweigh the benefits. It is known to increase heart rate and cause erratic or violent behavior, hallucinations, panic, or psychosis. Long-term effects include damaging blood vessels in the brain as well as heart and organ failure.
Bromo-DragonFLY is a psychedelic drug related to the phenethylamine family and is an extremely potent hallucinogen. About a third as potent as LSD with a dosage of just 200 to 800 micrograms, the hallucinations caused by the drug are known to last several days. The eccentric name of the drug comes from the fact that its molecular structure vaguely represents a dragonfly. The recommended dosage is 1 milligram, with anything over that being extremely dangerous and potentially fatal.
According to users, most experience a long and subtle trip, in which sounds, colors, and feelings are more pronounced, but not to the point of heavy psychedelic drugs such as LSD and PCP. Others claim to feel nauseated and disgusted after a short trip.
#7 Lean/Purple Drank
Lean or Purple Drank is a slang term for a concoction, which includes a prescription-strength cough syrup - often containing codeine and promethazine - and is typically mixed with ingredients such as the soft drinks Sprite or Mountain Dew, and optionally "a Jolly Rancher hard fruit candy thrown in for extra sweetness." The amount of cough syrup used can exceed up to 25 times the recommended dose, and as codeine is an opiate and in the same family as heroin, the mixture is extremely addictive.
The mixture can be very harmful with the effects ranging from slurred speech and droopy rate to slowed heart rate and possible urinary tract infection. With it being very easy to overdose on Purple Drank, overdose deaths are common.
Whoonga, also known as nyaope or wunga, is a street drug that has come into widespread use in South Africa since 2010, mostly in the impoverished townships of Durban. The principal active ingredient of the drug is heroin, and it's often smoked with marijuana. While that doesn't sound too bad, its also known to contain different mixtures of rat poison, detergent powder, antiretroviral drugs, milk powder, pool cleaner, and baking soda.
Users are said to feel content and relaxed, feeling a rush of warmth and comfort. The high is said to last about two to four hours, with a less intense euphoria persisting after a few hours. The drug also comes with terrible withdrawal symptoms, including agonizing stomach cramps, backache, sweating, chills, anxiety, restlessness, depression, nausea, and diarrhea.
#5 Devil's Breath
Dubbed as the 'most dangerous drug in the world,' Devil's breath or scopolamine is derived from the flower of the 'borrachero' shrub common in Colombia. The drug when used on the victim leaves them in a 'zombie-like' state with no ability to control their actions, leaving them at the mercy of their captors or robbers. Surprisingly, the drug can be bought over the counter as a seasickness medication but the compound is said to lead to hallucinations, frightening images, and a complete lack of free will.
Scopolamine can render a victim unconscious for 24 hours or more at a time and Columbia puts the 'unofficial estimates' of scopolamine events at roughly 50,000 per year. In large doses, it's known to cause respiratory failure and death and victims are exposed to it either by having it blown in their faces, slipped into their drinks or having it soaked in a business card. They don't show signs of being under the influence and afterward, have no recollection of what happened.
Krokodil or desomorphine originated in Russia in 1932. It was initially marketed in Switzerland under the brand name Permonid and was described as having a fast onset and a short duration of action, with relatively little nausea; it was supposedly meant to be a replacement for morphine.
It reemerged in 2002 as a recreational drug in Siberia and quickly spread in Russia because of its potentness and because of how cheap it was. It quickly became a replacement for heroin as it could be concocted in the kitchen within 30 minutes and the ingredients were relatively easy to gather.
The drug leaves the user's skin green, bumpy, and scaly and it was so dangerous, that if the addict missed the vein while taking it in, the drug would rot the skin off entirely and leave nothing but the exposed bone. The withdrawal was said to be excruciating, taking upwards of a month. The victim has to endure relentless pain and due to its extreme addictiveness and gruesome effects, the life expectancy of an average user would only be just a year or two.
Also known as the sage of the diviners, Salvia divinorum is an extremely powerful psychotropic herb. Though the plant is the same family as mint, rosemary, and thyme, Mazatec shamans have a long and continuous tradition of religious use of the plant to facilitate visionary states of consciousness during spiritual healing sessions. Consumed by smoking the leaves of the plant, the effects are immediate and intense and last about five to ten minutes.
It's the only drug on this list that hasn't been banned by the FDA, with it only being listed as a 'drug of concern.' Users have out-of-body experiences, often experience weightlessness, and sensations of spinning and soreness. Other physical effects include dizziness, nausea, and lack of coordination. While the drug is legal, it's not very popular as users experience fear a lot more than they experience euphoria.
DMT or N, N-Dimethyltryptamine has been labeled as 'the spirit molecule' and is an extremely powerful psychedelic drug. Considered to be the 'most powerful hallucinogen in the world,' it was first synthesized in 1930 by British chemist Richard Manske. The effects of DMT last for a significantly shorter amount of time compared to LSD and psilocybin. The effects of LSD are said to persist for eight to 12 hours, whereas a DMT trip lasts a maximum of just 15 minutes.
According to users, after inhaling it into your lungs and keeping it in as long as possible, you begin hearing a loud buzzing. This buzzing is paired with intense vibrations and before you know it, you pass out. The user then enters a tunnel of colors and geometric shapes, eventually breaking through and entering a universe with stunning views, unexplainable colors, and remarkable geometric shapes. In this universe, most users claim that they are talking to God Himself or godlike entities.
Flakka (alpha-PDP) is mostly produced in China and costs about just $5 a hit. Originally synthesized in the 1960s, its popularity rose in the U.S in 2013. Banned in 2014, the drug found itself in the headlines because of the actions of one Austin Harrouff. A university student, Austin was apparently high on flakka when he murdered a married couple and gnawed off the husband's face. Apparently packed in small plastic bags, the drug became popular as it could be consumed in a variety of ways.
The drug is said to be ten times as potent as cocaine and causes extreme aggressiveness and animal-like behavior in users. Patrons become very alert and paranoid and tend to lash out very easily. It is also said to put the user under “excited delirium,” which involves hallucinations and increased strength, basically putting the consumer into a rage mode. It also increases the body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate, making it easy for the user to suffer a stroke, aneurysm or even death.
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