A man hands his entire life savings over to a complete stranger and offers him the keys to his condo to take the furniture too. All the while he’s smiling and chatting as though everything is fine. This is what happens when you’re the victim of the world’s scariest drug.
Derived from the Borrachero tree, which grows freely in part of South America, Scopolamine – better known on the street as ‘The Devil’s Breath’ or ‘Burundanga’ – has the ability to rob people of their own free will. It makes people openly susceptible to suggestions by complete strangers – unable to think “Wait a minute. This doesn’t seem right.”
Last year, VICE reporters went to Colombia to find out more information about The Devil’s Breath that grows rampant through the country, hiding itself as a beautiful flower hanging down from a tree. They wanted to find out more about this drug that is little-known around the world – this drug that is used almost solely to commit criminal acts such as robberies and rapes upon other human beings.
According to one drug dealer in Bogota, Colombia, named Demencia Black, once the seed of the flower has been synthetically processed, the drug has a similar weight, density and look to that of cocaine. However, one gram of The Devil’s Breath is enough to kill up to 10 or 15 people. And, Black ensures that in order for the drug’s effects to take place, it does not even have to be ingested – simply inhaled from the air – making it incredibly dangerous. Black explains that by simply tossing the powder into the air towards another individual, they will inhale enough of the drug to be rendered powerless under its effects.
“With just that flash,” he says, “the person is totally drugged. You wait a minute and when you see it kick in, then you know that you own that person. You can guide them wherever you want, they’re like a child.” However, even a child would most likely know that emptying out their pockets, their apartment, their personal savings – and giving it all to a stranger – was not a good idea. Under the effects of The Devil’s Breath, however, these logical thoughts do not exist. The drug leaves the effected person with absolutely no sense of right or wrong – and very little ability to go against the suggestions of another person – even a complete stranger. This is why it has been given the name The Devil’s Breath – as it is akin to selling one’s soul to the devil.
A woman who works at the local dance clubs admitted to VICE that she uses the drug to get money from her customers at the club. Instead of having to wait for an opportunity to put the drug in the man’s drink, she blocks her own nasal passage with tissue, and places the drug on her upper lip. She moves in towards the man as though she is going to kiss him, but instead he simply inhales the drug. In a few minutes, when the drug has taken affect, she can simply ask him to empty his bank accounts, write down the passcodes to his credit cards, and even move the entire contents out of his apartment and into a moving truck if she so chose.
In 2012, there were nearly 1,200 scopolamine cases reported at the local hospitals, a mix of male and female patients, who typically arrive in a state of confusion without any personal belongings – complete memory blanks in place of the previous night or day’s actions.
With these stories just the tip of the iceberg, it’s easy to see how this drug earned its reputation as world’s scariest drug. For the full story, watch the VICE documentary