At school you’re taught that drugs can do some scary things. These effects can be blown out of proportion, and make it seem like a few tokes at a party can send you spiralling into addiction and a life of crime. The drugs listed below are worse than anything you were ever warned about.
Zolpidem, more commonly known as Ambien is a sleeping pill that was developed as an alternative to Valium. And most of the time, it works pretty well. You can take one, fall asleep, and then wake up in the morning without further incident.
For some people though, zolpidem can cause people to do all kinds of crazy stuff while asleep. There are all the cases of people on zolpidem crashing cars and claiming to be asleep, and that’s just the warm up.
There’s a crazy story about an Australian couple who were both taking zolpidem. The woman hallucinated that she was floating above the bed before projectile vomiting like “that movie with Linda Blair”. Her husband strapped on a tool belt, loaded it with spatulas and tried to clean it up. “The next morning we thought it was a bad dream,” she said. “It wasn’t.”
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Scopolamine is a drug that causes amnesia and suggestibility. The really scary thing about this drug is how easy it is to administer. Criminals in Colombia have been blowing powder into the faces of victims, who then happily empty their bank accounts or assist in the robbing of their own house. The morning after, the victim has no idea what has happened.
While there have been rumors of people being drugged in the US through touching business cards soaked in scopolamine, these have been debunked. Thankfully it looks like the drug hasn’t yet made it out of Colombia.
Yep the same stuff that’s probably sitting in your kitchen cupboard right now is one hell of a crazy drug. High doses of nutmeg can induce hallucinations; which has lead many people strapped for cash or wanting a legal alternative to the more famous hallucinogens to throw back massive doses of a kitchen spice.
These trips are normally unpleasant and more closely resemble psychotic detachment from reality as opposed to the psychedelic sixties. Accompanying the hallucinations is severe anxiety, and a sense of impending doom.
The physical effects are also pretty harsh with rapid heart rate and palpitations, dry mouth, nausea and urinary retention all being reported.
And you always wondered nutmeg was for…
Human growth hormone or HGH is, as you would expect, a hormone found in humans that is necessary for growthnecessary for growth.
Athletes have been known to inject HGH because they believe it will help with recovery after training (although there’s little evidence to support this). As you can guess from the list so far, there can be some very nasty side effects. The most intense one is a condition called acromegaly.
Acromegaly causes skin to get thicker, the hands and feet to swell and the jaw line to become more pronounced causing gaps between the teeth. So trying to get a bit of an edge in sports can leave you looking like a James Bond villain. Literally – acromegaly is the condition the guy who played Jaws had.
The early days of HGH use were even scarier, as it was sourced from dead bodies. This isn’t just icky. This practise led to many cases of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, a brain disorder similar to mad cow disease, but more like ‘mad human disease’.
Bromo-dragonfly is a drug that is named because its molecular structure looks like a dragonfly. If you think that’s kind of spooky, hear what it does.
Bromo-dragonfly is sometimes sold as LSD, because it’s active at low enough doses to be put on a tab. While an LSD trip usually lasts a few hours, Bromo-dragonfly can be active for up to 3 days, and can have a range of nasty side effects. These include seizures, spasms in your veins and blood vessel constriction. Amputation of limbs is required in severe cases. Not freaky enough yet? The trips have been described as being “dragged to hell and back again”.
Getting the munchies is one of the most well known symptoms of marijuana smoking. Scientists figured that if they made a drug that had the opposite effect on the body, they could make people less hungry. So Rimonabant was born, a drug that works in the same places in the brain as cannabis but has exactly the opposite effect.??This strategy worked and the drug was approved for weight loss. Rimonabant was also found to have opposite effects to weed in other areas too. It increases sperm motility, and improves short-term memory in animals. Unfortunately, it has some pretty serious side effects.
If you’ve ever seen someone have a big toke on a joint, you know that more often than not they have a smile on their face. Because say what you will about pot, it tends to make people feel pretty good. Rimonabant has the opposite effect here as well and was withdrawn from the market pretty quickly after it was revealed it was making people depressed and suicidal.
Heroin has caused untold levels of despair, suffering and bad PSAs. So you might be surprised to learn that scientists sat down and developed a drug 5000 times as strong.
Etorphine is a drug that works in the same way as heroin and morphine, but never really took off on the streets because it’s too potent to do anything besides instantly kill humans.
How potent? Its only use is to sedate large animals, and 1/100th of a gram can knock out a 3000 kg (6614 lbs) elephant. Contact with skin can be enough to cause an overdose in humans, so whenever the drug is used an assistant with an antidote has to be ready to Pulp Fiction you in case of an accident.
2,4-Dinitrophenol or DNP is a drug that screws up the way your body uses energy. Normally the food you eat is turned into energy to keep your heart beating and let your muscles move and really important stuff like that. If you eat too much energy, the excess is stored as fat on your butt and stomach until there’s not enough food around and it’s needed.
DNP is a drug that was used for weight loss in the 1930s, because it totally screwed with the way your body used energy so that energy is used up without any effort on your part. You can eat all the fried chicken that you want and all the energy will be burnt up while you sit around playing X-Box.
While this may sound like the best invention ever, there’s a drawback. The drug was discontinued in 1938 because people were literally cooking from the inside, with massively raised body temperature, heart rate and sweating that was often fatal.
The drug is available through online pharmacies and people are still taking it, and it’s still killing them.
From the 1950s to the 1970s the US military had a fun little side project at the Edgewood Arsenal. They would give soldiers various drugs and chemical agents to see what happened. One of these was a super potent version of marijuana called ‘dimethylheptylpyran’ or DMHP.
This stuff gives all the classic signs of being baked like red eyes, hunger and sluggishness. However rather than a couple of joints, 0.0002 g is all the DMHP you need to get the average person staring at their shoes and giggling. At 1mg doses soldiers were completely unable to perform their duties for up to 3 days. The boffins over at Edgewood thought they had stumbled across the ideal non-lethal incapacitating agent.
You could just spray the enemy base with DMHP and walk in an hour later while everyone is watching Friends reruns and eating Cheetos. By the late 1970s more effective chemical warfare agents had been weaponised, and the research was stopped.
In Russia, heroin addicts who can’t afford their next hit have found an easier and much more horrifying way to get a fix. A series of reactions with over the counter painkillers and easily available chemicals can create a drug called desomorphine that has similar effects to heroin.
As you can probably guess, cooking up painkillers, lighter fluid, and cleaning oils in a kitchen doesn’t result in a pure product. A brown gunk called Krokodil is produced. The mixture was named for its tendency to turn the skin of users scaly and reptilian as the toxic by-products eat away at the flesh. Heavy use leaves flesh grey and dead, sometimes rotting away to the bone. The results are truly disturbing.