Devil’s Breath: Everything You Need to Know About Scopolamine Misuse
In recent years, prescription drug abuse has become a serious public health issue, with many people turning to dangerous drugs for recreational use. While this may bring to mind medications like morphine, fentanyl, and other painkillers, drug misuse can also spread to unexpected substances like scopolamine.
Scopolamine is a powerful medication that has been used for decades but can have dangerous side effects when abused. In this article, we'll discuss what scopolamine is, its medical uses, the risks associated with its abuse, and how scopolamine misuse can be prevented.
What Is Scopolamine?
Scopolamine is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as anticholinergics. It is usually derived from plants in the Solanaceae family, namely nightshade, henbane, and jimsonweed. It can be extracted from these plants in a laboratory, or it may be found naturally in certain cultures' traditional medicines. In fact, scopolamine has been used in one form or another for thousands of years.
In its modern form, scopolamine works by blocking the action of acetylcholine, a chemical in the brain and nervous system. This can affect various organs in the body, including the heart, stomach, and intestines, meaning that — taken responsibly — this drug can be useful for a number of conditions.
What's Scopolamine Used for?
Scopolamine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as an antiemetic (medication for treating nausea), an antispasmodic agent (to reduce muscle spasms), and as a sedative. It can be used to treat motion sickness, vertigo, and vomiting associated with certain procedures such as anesthesia.
Because scopolamine impacts your digestive system, it may also be used in combination with other medications for treating conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
How Is Scopolamine Taken?
Scopolamine can come in a variety of forms, depending on the specific medical condition being treated. It may be taken orally as a pill, tablet, liquid suspension, or suppository; administered through an injection; absorbed through the skin via patches; or inhaled via a nasal spray.
Scopolamine Side Effects
It's important to remember that taking any medication comes with risks and side effects. Even when used appropriately, common side effects of scopolamine can include:
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Constipation or difficulty urinating
- Mood changes (such as restlessness, agitation, depression, or hallucinations)
While these side effects are usually mild and temporary when taken as prescribed, they can worsen or become more serious when the drug is abused. When taken in high doses, scopolamine can cause severe health risks and complications including seizures, coma, respiratory problems, heart arrhythmia, and even death.
Can You Overdose on Scopolamine?
Yes, it is possible to overdose on scopolamine. Overdosing on this drug can be deadly, and the symptoms are similar to those of a severe allergic reaction: difficulty breathing, vomiting, seizures, and unconsciousness. If you or anyone else has taken too much scopolamine, seek emergency medical attention right away.
Known on the street by the ominous name "devil's breath," scopolamine is sometimes used as a recreational drug due to its potentially hallucinogenic effects, especially in the club drug scene.
However, it's not always considered to provide a pleasant high, so this substance is more likely to be abused for its sedative properties. In particular, scopolamine has become an alternative to Rohypnol as a "roofie" or date rape drug, causing victims to experience unconsciousness, lack of control, and memory loss. These symptoms can be so severe that scopolamine is sometimes referred to as "zombifying" users.
In addition to enabling crimes like sexual assault, scopolamine has also been linked in the news to kidnapping cases. In the wrong hands, this medication can be extremely dangerous.
Is Scopolamine Addictive?
For those rare users who choose to take scopolamine recreationally, the risk of addiction is high. Because scopolamine blocks the action of acetylcholine in the brain and body, it can lead to feelings of euphoria and relaxation. It may cause physical dependence with regular use as well as psychological cravings that make it difficult for someone to stop using the drug without professional help.
If you think you or someone you know may be abusing scopolamine, it's important to seek medical attention immediately to prevent further harm. And if you or a loved one has been prescribed scopolamine, make sure to speak with your doctor about any potential side effects before taking it. As always, follow all instructions provided by your healthcare provider when taking scopolamine or any other medication to ensure that you're staying safe while getting the most out of your treatment plan.
Treatment for Scopolamine Addiction
If you or someone you know is struggling with a scopolamine addiction, it's important to reach out for help. Addiction treatment centers can provide evidence-based therapies and support services to aid in recovery. Treatment options such as counseling, medication-assisted treatment, lifestyle changes, and support groups can help those struggling with addiction regain control of their lives.
Additionally, there are online resources available such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Get Answers from Countrywide Testing
If you are concerned that a loved one may be misusing scopolamine or other medications, it is important to seek help as soon as possible to prevent possible consequences such as worsening addiction or even overdose. Fortunately, Countrywide Testing has the answers you need. We offer discreet, at-home drug testing kits that will help you confirm a loved one's substance use and help get them started on the road to recovery.
Countrywide offers an array of drug testing products for workplace testing, healthcare emergencies, law enforcement purposes, and individuals trying to stay clean after rehab.
Our test kits are convenient, affordable, and ship to you quickly. Plus, our lab is accredited by SAMHSA, so you can rest assured your test results are handled in accordance with the highest industry standards.
Want more information on how Countrywide can support drug and medication safety? Just contact our team today.