Peyote

peyoteThere are many different substances in the world which, when taken by a human, can have mind-altering effects. Some of these substance are common drugs like cocaine, alcohol, and LSD. There are also uncommon substances from plants, fungi, and even animals which can produce the same effects as the more common street drugs.

In the past, different cultures found and used these substances for medical, recreational, and even religious purposes. Many of these cultures were familiar with the specific effects of these substances, and they found a number of different uses for them. One of these such substances is peyote, which contains the psychedelic substance mescaline. Peyote is found in cacti in the southwest U.S. and northern Mexico. Although classified as a Schedule II drug by the USA, peyote has been used by Native American tribes for religious purposes during ceremonies. Peyote is seen as a spiritual drug, so recreational use is not widespread or very common. Native Americans have the right to use peyote in religious ceremonies and this right has been protected by the US Federal government since 1965, with another 28 states enacting similar laws to work in conjunction with the federal laws. These laws allows peyote to be used by Native American religious practitioners, but the laws lack true uniformity. This has created some barriers to transportation and use of peyote in different areas by different Native American tribes.

Previous USA court rulings found that the First Amendment does not completely protect Native American practitioners who use peyote. This is another barrier to its supposed protection under federal laws. Peyote can be consumed in a number of different ways. It’s often cut into disc-shaped buttons that are cut from the roots and dried before being chewed or soaked in water to produce the liquid containing mescaline. The dosage of mescaline is about one third to one half of a gram and its effects may last up to 12 hours. Another method of preparing the drug is to prepare it as a tea to counter its bitter taste.

Peyote has been used in North America for hundreds of years by Native Americans. However, its long term effects on the body are poorly understood because very little research has been done on this drug as compared to other drugs. Although no long term psychological or cognitive harm has been observed in Native Americans who use peyote, this does not indicate the same will hold true for those who abuse the drug repeatedly for recreational purposes. Side effects of peyote are very similar to the effects of taking LSD. Some of the effects of taking peyote include increased body temperature, heart rate, uncoordinated movements, sweating, and skin flushing. It’s difficult to pinpoint the rate of use of peyote, however there are millions of people in the USA and in the world who take advantage of hallucinogens. If peyote becomes more widely available as a popular drug of choice, we may see a decrease in laws which protect its use in a spiritual context.

Krokodil

Note: Krokodil causes extreme skin disfigurements which may be disturbing for some people. There are no pictures of krokodil users in this post.

Every couple of years there is a new drug trend which grows and grows until it’s picked up by the mainstream media. Krokodil (pronounced like crocodile) is one of these drugs – it’s a synthetic heroin. According to the International Journal of Drug Policy, Krokodil is a mixture of psychoactive drugs which are often used in Russia and other surrounding countries. However, the drug’s effects last about 90 minutes – much shorter than the effects of heroin. The most striking effects of krokodil include skin infections, discoloration, and scaly skin which looks like crocodile skin, hence the name krokodil.

Although the half-life of krokodil is short compared to other opioids, its harmful effects are immediate and very severe. One popular drug info website has a story about krokodil and its recent appearance in the US, particularly in the Chicago area. One 25 year-old female said she had been abusing heroin for 10 years, however she was admitted to a Chicago hospital after abusing krokodil for only one month.

krokodil-300x205Krokodil started getting popular in Russia about 10 years ago and the average life expectancy of someone who abuses krokodil is about two years. Russia has close to 2 million users as of 2008. Russian media reports estimate up to 5% of drug users may be injecting krokodil. People who abuse krokodil will suffer the very negative and harmful effects including gangrene, tissue death, and infections with possible neurological, endocrine organ damage. These side effects are commonly associated with heavy chemicals and metals poisoning, which are present in the production of krokodil. The ingredients used to produce krokodil are pictured below.

Krokodil is a terrifying drug with horrific side effects. Not much is known about this drug in the US because it is so new to our black market. However, we know it causes disgusting skin disfigurements and we know it puts people in the hospital very quickly. Krokodil is a frightening drug because not only does it destroy the body, but the lure of a cheap, homemade drug may prove too strong for those looking for a quick high.

While a number of different drugs rise and fall in popularity, addiction will remain the driving force behind the destructive behavior of drug abuse. If you or someone you love is abusing drugs, please don’t hesitate to call us at Inspirations for Youth and Families at (888) 757-6237.

Speed and Yaba

Yaba-TabletsAlthough the U.S. is one of the most popular markets for illegal drugs, many other countries and regions have their own drug problems.  During the last two decades a drug named yaba has become very popular in southeast Asia. Yaba is a methamphetamine and caffeine pill. Yaba means “crazy drug” in Thai and was previously used by truckers to stay awake during long drives. It is now illegal, although yaba is still being abused.

The University of Maryland’s Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) describes many different characteristics of yaba. It is sold in pill form and it can also be crushed and snorted or smoked. The side effects of yaba include euphoria, insomnia, aggression, increased heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and damage to the small blood vessels in the brain. Long term effects of yaba abuse include tremors, hypertension, hallucinations, psychosis, and mental confusion.
As yaba’s popularity has increased, so has its potency, according to an article from The Guardian. The pill has increased in potency from a concentration of 20% meth to about 90% for its crystalline form, called ‘ice’. Yaba abuse is becoming more widespread, despite its debilitating effects. Yaba is colored and flavored with chocolate and strawberry to mask its bitter taste, which makes it more appealing to children and young adults. The drug is even marketed to teenagers by drug dealers in India, Bangladesh and it’s even found in Isreal, according to a Huffington Post article by Amanda Scherker.  However, police in Thailand have begun warning parents and educating people about the effects of this drug.
Every country has to find a way to combat drug manufacturers while also educating parents and their children about the dangers of drug use and abuse. Yaba is not as popular in Thailand as it was in years passed, however it is gaining popularity in other countries. Will it ever reach us in the USA? Only time will tell.

Uncommon Drugs: DMT

dmtDMT is short for Dimethyltryptamine, a psychedelic compound from the tryptamine family. It is found naturally in the our brains and it’s believed to play a role in thought processing, dreaming, near death experiences, and out of body experiences like astro-projection.

 DMT can be sniffed, smoked or even injected. The side effects of using DMT include intense visuals, altered concept of time, stomach discomfort, overwhelming fear, lung irritation, increased heart rate, increased body temperature, and possibly death. DMT is trending among teenagers. John Barclay interviewed people who just smoked DMT. Here is one story from the site:

The visual side of things was like doing acid or mushrooms. I felt tingly and I had a body high or whatever. When I lied down and was listening to Iggy Pop, you were taking a picture of me and I still felt self-conscious. I don’t think I lost sight of myself enough to think that wasn’t absurd and funny. So then I sat back up again, and it got intense when I sat back up. It was a lot like the more intense moments of acid.
 
Almost the strangest part is how quickly you come down. With acid it lingers for a day sometimes—the whole next day you feel weird. With this you pretty much feel normal almost immediately afterwards. I still feel kind of strange because I remember the experience of doing the drug. And I’m probably gonna think about it a few times for the rest of the day. It’s like a way less time- and energy-intensive acid trip.”
- Victor
The long term side effects of smoking DMT include respiratory issues and possibly even psychological issues. Not much is known about this drug as it relates to abuse and addiction.  

 

Uncommon Drugs: Wet

         A new hazardous drug called “wet” has been gaining popularity among teenagers and adults in their early twenties. Wet is an embalming fluid, sometimes a combination of PCP and marijuana, or both; the drug is ingested by smoking tobacco or marijuana that has been soaked in this fluid and then dried.

        Wet is fairly cheap at about $20 a piece, according to ABC News’ Joann Loviglio. Wet also goes by the names fry, illy, amp and water.

        Side effects of wet include visual and auditory hallucinations, euphoria,  increased pain tolerance, anger, forgetfulness, and paranoia. Stronger symptoms include an overwhelming desire to disrobe and a strong distaste for meat.
 
        Wet is known to be highly addictive and it can be deadly. The Daily Beast wrote about wet and its effects in this article. Writer Jeff Deeney interviewed Nelly, a former wet user. “[Nelly] first got into the drug while hustling crack almost 10 years ago when he was in his early twenties, and kept smoking until he was nearly 30. He says that for years prior to smoking his first dipper, he consumed a heavy daily diet of potent blunt-wrapped weed, the same stuff that most Philly dealers smoke from sundown to sunup while working the corner. Bored with his usual weed high, Nelly saw wet as a change of pace.”
 
        Wet may seem like the new drug on the block, but it is just a re-branding of angel dust from the 1980s. Unfortunately, there are not many studies about the effects of wet, although most doctors say it is very similar to PCP. If you or someone you love is abusing wet or PCP, please do not hesitate to call us at Inspirations for Youth and Families at (888) 757-6237.