What Is Devil’s Breath?

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FAQs

Devil’s Breath is closely related to scopolamine and often called Burundanga. The substance has been integral to the spiritual and religious ceremonies of native South Americans for centuries.

Scopolamine, the main active ingredient in Devil’s Breath, is a belladonna alkaloid with powerful anticholinergic properties. It is used clinically to manage nausea and vomiting related to motion sickness and to alleviate postoperative nausea and vomiting. Read on to learn more about the Devil’s Breath flower.

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Devil’s Breath Drug

Devil’s Breath is extracted from the flower of the borrachero shrub that’s found mainly in Colombia, South America. This drug is produced by powdering the seeds of the shrub and then extracting a chemical similar to scopolamine, referred to as Burundanga. The Borrachero shrub has been utilized in spiritual rituals by native South Americans for centuries, and it has deep-rooted cultural significance.

Devil’s Breath drug effects include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Frightening imagery
  • Impaired ability to exercise free will
  • Amnesia

These properties have led to its use as a tool for criminal activities, especially in Colombia where it has been repeatedly used to incapacitate victims. In the 1990s, Burundanga poisoning accounted for about half of all emergency room admissions in Bogota, Colombia.

Scopolamine is also naturally present in jimson weed (Datura stramonium), found widely across the United States. Scopolamine is available in a prescription form, known as Transderm Scop, which is commonly used to prevent motion sickness and postoperative nausea and vomiting. It is administered through a transdermal patch that releases the medication slowly through the skin, minimizing the risk of severe side effects.

Despite its medical uses, Devil’s Breath has a dark side associated with illegal activities, especially in high doses or when used to spike drinks. The U.S. Embassy in Colombia Department has warned that scopolamine can leave a victim unconscious for over 24 hours, with unofficial estimates suggesting around 50,000 incidents per year in Colombia alone. In extreme cases, it can lead to respiratory failure and death, particularly when ingested in liquid or powder form in foods and beverages.

Pharmacologically, scopolamine is categorized as a belladonna alkaloid and an anticholinergic, with a mechanism of action that blocks certain neurotransmitters in the central and peripheral nervous systems. While it has legitimate medical applications, its potential for misuse, especially in settings like nightclubs and bars, mirrors the dangers associated with other date-rape drugs like Rohypnol.

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Why Is Scopolamine Called Devil’s Breath?

Scopolamine is known as Devil’s Breath due to its potent effects that can deeply impair a person’s memory and ability to control their actions. This nickname reflects the drug’s capacity to leave people in a vulnerable state, where they can be easily manipulated or harmed without their knowledge.

There have been reports suggesting that Devil’s Breath was used in various parts of the world in harmful ways. Some stories mentioned criminals blowing the powder into people’s faces or placing it on business cards. When people came into contact with the substance, they would supposedly enter a zombie-like state, unable to control their actions. This left them exposed to risks from theft and home burglary to assault and organ harvesting. There has been skepticism about reports of robberies committed by blowing the powder into victims’ faces or placing it on business cards, and it seems unlikely from a pharmacological standpoint.

Is Devil’s Breath Dangerous?

Whether or not it’s classified as a controlled substance, scopolamine can be used illegally. When added to drinks in high doses, it can lead to serious problems. The U.S. State Department has highlighted on their website that scopolamine can leave someone unconscious for over 24 hours.

In Colombia, where the drug is most commonly misused, there are estimated to be around 50,000 cases of scopolamine exposure each year. In extreme cases, it can cause respiratory failure and death, particularly when ingested in food or drinks, rather than being inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Many of these incidents in Colombia occur in nightclubs and bars, similar to the use of the date-rape drug Rohypnol.

From a medical perspective, scopolamine is known as an anticholinergic medication and a belladonna alkaloid. Even the low dosage found in transdermal patches can cause side effects like dry mouth, blurred vision, headaches, difficulty urinating, and dizziness. Overdosing on scopolamine can lead to a dangerously accelerated heart rate, confusion, toxic psychosis, vivid hallucinations, seizures, and coma, among other serious conditions. The official FDA labeling warns against mixing it with alcohol due to the risk of enhancing central nervous system depression. Such combinations can lead to confusion, disorientation, excessive excitement, and amnesia.

There have been medical case reports from Europe and anecdotal reports of its illegal use in the U.S., but these claims are difficult to substantiate fully.

Is Scopolamine Addictive?

Scopolamine, known for its potent anticholinergic properties, does not have a high potential for addiction in the traditional sense like opioids, stimulants, or alcohol. Its primary medical use is for the prevention of nausea and motion sickness, administered through a transdermal patch, and its mechanism of action is quite different from that of substances commonly associated with recreational abuse and dependence.

One of the main reasons that scopolamine is not generally considered addictive is that it does not produce the euphoric high characteristic of addictive substances. Drugs that are commonly abused often stimulate the brain’s reward pathways, leading to the reinforcing cycle of addiction. Scopolamine, on the other hand, primarily acts by blocking acetylcholine receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems, which does not trigger the same reward response.

While scopolamine may not be addictive in the conventional sense, it is not without its risks and concerns. Improper use, especially in doses higher than those medically recommended, can lead to serious side effects, including confusion, hallucinations, and memory problems. Beyond this, the drug’s capacity to impair cognitive functions and induce amnesia has led to its exploitation for criminal purposes. 

FAQs

What is Devil’s Breath?

Devil’s Breath, scientifically known as scopolamine, is a powerful tropane alkaloid. It is used in traditional medicine, especially in South America. Devil’s Breath may also be used for criminal purposes, as its effects can incapacitate victims.

Is scopolamine dangerous?

Yes, scopolamine is considered highly dangerous due to its potent effects on the central nervous system, including hallucinations, memory loss, and an inability to exercise free will. Its potential for abuse and overdose can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening health issues.

What does Devil’s Breath mind control mean?

Devil’s Breath mind control refers to the drug’s alleged abilities to reduce a person’s capacity for self-control, rendering them highly suggestible and vulnerable to influence or manipulation. This property had led to its use in crimes like kidnapping and robbery, by impairing the decision-making abilities of victims.

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FAQs

Devil’s Breath, also known as scopolamine, is a powerful tropane alkaloid drug derived from plants in the nightshade family. It can cause amnesia, hallucinations, and a state of unconsciousness when ingested or inhaled.
It is sometimes used in medicine for its anticholinergic properties, but it is also infamous for its use in criminal activities, where it is secretly administered to incapacitate victims, making them highly suggestible and vulnerable to theft or assault.

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