11 Jun 2012

Not Even Illegal

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Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Narco Polo reports that, in Afghanistan, motivated seekers of intoxication will resort to smoking the stingers of local scorpions.

[I]n Afghanistan even the ubiquitous scorpions can be used for intoxication. Tartars in Bamiyan province prepare scorpions by smashing them between stones and letting them dry. The main part of the tail, with the sting, is then crushed into a powder and smoked with tobacco and/or hashish (marijuana).

[A witness] in the Afghan town of Peshawar described the reaction:

    The effect was instantaneous with the man’s face and eyes becoming very red, “much more than a hashish smoker” …. He also seemed very intoxicated but awake and alert, although he stumbled and fell over when he tried to rise from a sitting position …. the smoke tasted “sweeter” than that of hashish, although … it smelled foul, and the intoxicating effect lasted much longer. (1, p. 247)

As with most drugs, anecdotal reports of scorpion’s effects vary widely. It is likely that the numerous Afghan scorpion species have divergent psychoactive properties. Scorpion has been reported to keep one awake, cause severe headaches, and rival the effects of a “strong mescaline trip.” (1, p. 248) One Kabul man who had smoked between 20 and 30 times reported the effects to last three days. During these periods he had difficulty opening his eyes, his head spun, and he had constant visual hallucinations.

Globally, scorpion smoking is still rare. The failure of the war on other drugs has not driven people to seek it out … yet. If drug war success sparking scorpion use sounds unbelievable, in India’s Western states police crackdowns on mainstream illicit drugs have already led to “sting sellers.” A police officer in the city of Bharuch said:

    Because of our successful drives against the sellers and addicts of alcohol, opium, cough syrup, and heroin in urban areas, young people are flocking on the highways to try the new craze of scorpion sting.

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The same practice was described as occurring in Pakistan in 2001. Reuters via Wired:

When they’re in season, Ghulam Raza smokes scorpions.

He says he dries their stingers in the sun and grinds them, then lights the powdery venom and sucks the smoke deep into his lungs.

“Oh yes,” he said when asked if the scorpions make him high. “When I smoke scorpion, then the heroin is like nothing to me.”

The place where Raza and other Pakistani junkies smoke dope or shoot up in the southwestern city of Quetta is a good place to find scorpions. It is the main cemetery, a dust-filled field of tombstones and corpse-sized mounds of rocks. …

In the cemetery, sometimes one of them will get very stoned and drop into an open grave.

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