Author`s name Alex Naumov

Modern drug addicts risk their lives trying unconventional drugs to get high

Law enforcement authorities are discovering disturbing new trends amongst drug users in their attempts to get high - including extracting and smoking the poison from toads.

'Toad smoking', a new variation of 'Toad licking', is achieved by extracting poison from the Sonoran Desert toad of the Colorado River. The secretion from the toad contains a powerful hallucinogen called Bufotenine, that can be dried out and later smoked.

While the concept may sound particularly odd, American authorities are taking the trend very seriously - and have made arrests.

One case concerned David S. Theisss, 21, from Kansas City, who was charged in October for three counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia - a toad - after authorities went to a northern Kansas City home to investigate a suspected meth lab.

Theiss also is accused of possessing mescaline, a controlled substance extracted from a cactus.

The Prosecutor said possessing a toad is not illegal, but extracting its psychotropic venom is, reports

Pravda.Ru has interviewed two leading drug addiction experts Professor Charles Marsden, Institute of Neuroscience, and Dr. Shannon C. Miller, Forensic Addiction and Psychiatric Services, L.L.C., to find out more about unconventional drug abuse.

Pravda.Ru: How does it usually happen that people learn about new drugs and especially about the animals that produce drug substances?

Charles Marsden : These days often through the internet and the posting of information about the use of drugs by various tribal people around the world. Many tribes are depositories of very valuable information about the effects of drugs extracted from plants and animals.

Shannon Miller: Folks usually learn about drugs from other people, or the internet, etc. However, this is an old practice. This toad is liekly Bufo alvarius (the Sonoran Desert Toad). Its glandular venom is 6-16% 5-methoxy-dimethyl-tryptamine. 5-MeO-DMT is a hallucinogen. You can also get the drug from its skin/touching it. It serves to protect this poor little toad from its predators, but obviously humans have learn to squeeze it out of this poor little guy, process it, and use it to get hallucinations. This practice dates back to at least 1959 when South American tribes would use it to make hallucinogenic snuffs for personal use.

Pravda.Ru: This way of drug abuse is far from being conventional. What are the dangers of trying new, unknown drug substances?

Shannon Miller: New unknown drug substances can be very dangerous. Hallucinations are but one of many reactions users can have. Moreover, the hallucinations are not without potential problems, as people may act on these hallucinations and sometimes get hurt. Overall, using drugs of abuse is extremely dangerous. In addition to all of the specific medical and psychiatric problems that can occur, addiction can occur. Moreover, other drugs may be mixed, that can be toxins/poisons. The website for the National Institute on Drug Abuse is a reliable, balanced, accurate web site for further information

Charles Marsden : The key issue is the potential toxic effects of the extract in the absence of any reliable information about the effects of different doses of the venom and the mechanisms of action involved. The fact it is a venom means it is a toxin aimed to prevent attack or cause damage to potential attackers (ie another animal that finds the toad a tasty meal!). There are many known venoms which cause profound damage to the nervous system.

Pravda.Ru: Could you give any other examples of unconventional drug abuse?

Charles Marsden : These range from glue sniffing, mescaline, psilocin and other 'magic mushrooms'(naturally occurring hallucinogens). Many drugs of abuse are naturally occurring (cocaine comes from the coca bush, heroin from poppies and cannabis from the plant Sativa etc) and of course many useful drugs are also from natural sources originally. In the 18th century woman put an extract from the plant deadly nightshade (Belladonna) into their eyes to enlarge their pupils - a sign of beauty and we know that the extract contains the drug atropine which enlarges the pupil of the eye by preventing the action of the parasympathetic nerves to the eye.

Shannon Miller: Too numerous to count. Inhalants are very commonly abused in underdeveloped countries, because they are cheap and accessible. But they can cause brain damage and addiction, among other perils. Sudden death can occur due to the direct chemical effects of the inhalant on your heart and breathing.

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik