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A recurring theme in the psychology of addiction is that the opposite of addiction is connection. That means that getting hooked on opioids is more about an inability to achieve emotional intimacy than it is about seeking pleasurable experiences. If this is the case, then one approach to dealing with the ongoing opioid crisis is crafting policy that seeks to lift the impediments to emotional connectivity. That way the feelings that separate us from others are excised in order to create a space for genuine human connection.
The alternative creates an environment of desperation where household items and synthetic compounds find their way into syringes and pipes. Many of these concoctions begin to warp the skin of addicts into scales. That's when we find ourselves in a Twilight Zone reality where users' outward appearance begins to match their inward appearance; they are twisted to resemble the hard feelings that they contain. Poverty, stigma, and unemployment only further exasperate addiction to these drugs you didn't even know existed.
Krokodil is way too popular in Russia considering that this low-cost alternative to heroin literally rots your flesh. That's a testament to just how bad things are in the former USSR! Krokodil is a mixture of iodine, industrial cleaning products, painkillers, and lighter fluid. Do you know how desperate you'd have to be in the first place to even consider injecting that stuff into yourself?!
It takes an hour to boil, distill, mix, and shake all those ingredients together. That's real dedication to just wanting to get away. What you end up with is a brown liquid and a scent of burnt iodine that you just can't shake. It's like you're followed everywhere you go by a very smelly ghost.
If you inject krokodil wrong, an infected welt immediately forms because you're shooting poison into your skin. And, on top of all that, it takes 30 days to withdraw from krokodil. The best ways to getting krokodil out of your system are nothing like the best ways to get weed out of your system. The symptoms are so intense that patients are given tranquilizers just so they don't pass out. If you actually search out pictures of what flesh looks like after krokodil you'll wish it had stayed one of the drugs you didn't even know existed.
Fentanyl and Carfentanil
Fentanyl is so strong that one grain equals a hit of heroin and two hits will make you OD. If that's not bad enough, there's also carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer that will 100% kill you. It's literally not meant for human consumption and that's exactly why it has such a high mortality rate.
You might as well try to get high from inhaling water directly into your lungs, letting a train run over you, or self-immolation. "But Ben, none of those things are meant to get you high." "Neither is carfentanil. And don't call me, 'butt Ben!'" People only take this stuff because it's an affordable alternative to heroin. Unless it kills you, in which case you paid the greatest price of all: your life. That would make everyone in your life wish it was one of the drugs you didn't even know existed.
In Russia, sometimes rather than drink actual alcohol, people will drink drugs you didn't even know existed. That includes alcohol substitutes, like Boyaryshnik, which is a hand lotion. This is one of the worst life hacks that you should never try. In 2016, Boyaryshnik contaminated with methanol, which is an ingredient in antifreeze and formaldehyde, killed over 60 people. This was 4 years after a similar outbreak of methanol-laced lethal hooch appeared in the Czech Republic.
Bath salts used to actually be sold as bath salts before people realized they can be consumed as drugs. They're like a less intense, more energizing form of ecstasy. They also received a lot of attention in 2012 after they were believed to be the culprit behind the "man eats homeless man's face" story, although a toxicology report revealed that there were no bath salts in his system. Nonetheless, the year in bath salts was 2012 for sure. That's when bath salts made the leap from drugs you didn't even know existed to drugs your parents would reference in conversation about what, "You kids these days are up to."
Purple Drank is one of the more widely known drugs you didn't even know existed thanks to its popularity among certain hip-hop artists. It's a mixture of soda like Mountain Dew or Sprite and cough syrup high in promethazine and codeine. People also add a Jolly Rancher to make the whole mix tastier, just as they would if they were sneaking Zimas in their parents' finished basement in the early 90s. Purple Drank actually often is consumed with alcohol. The effect of the drug is euphoric, along with impaired motor-skills, drowsiness, lack of energy, and a dissociative feeling. It can also cause respiratory or cardiac arrest.
Cheese is what you get when you mix heroin with over the counter drugs like Tylenol PM. I'll let Kumail Nanjiani take care of this one. "Cheese is Tylenol PM and heroin. So, really, it's heroin. It's mostly heroin. Heroin's doing the heavy lifting in this drug cocktail. I can't put heroin on pancakes and say, 'I have a new drug!'" Thanks, Kumail!
If you OD on cheese, you'll wish it was one of the drugs you didn't even know existed because it requires treating several different overdoses at once. So, don't do heroin, and, as a general rule, don't grind up Tylenol PM and put it in things!
Synthetic cannabinoids were first created to test the effects of THC. Then they became some of the drugs you didn't even know existed. They bind to the same parts of the brain that organic cannabinoids bind to, but they can have radically dissimilar properties from naturally occurring THC. Reportedly, they lead to a tense sense of stillness accompanied by dissociation. These synthetic cannabinoids, with names like K2 and Spice, can also lead to kidney failure, seizures, brain damage, and psychosis.
The communist government of Romania outlawed contraception, which led to a boom in unwanted children. The children filled orphanages nationwide, but once Communism fell, many of them were forced to the street. The Oscar-nominated Children Underground is about a group of kids who live in a subway station and what it takes for them survive. Many of them turn to paint fumes to ease the pain of their struggle. This is a classic super sad documentary that you watch on Netflix because you feel obligated to bear witness to the world's suffering. Once you see Children Underground, you won't be able to unsee that paint was one of the drugs you didn't even know existed.
Sisa is a popular cocaine alternative from Greece. It's a methamphetamine that's cut with ingredients like battery acid and engine oil. The experience of taking Sisa is said to be a more powerful, less costly, and longer lasting version of cocaine. Vice put it more bluntly when they wrote, "Sisa: Cocaine of the Poor."
If you get hooked on sisa, you'll wish it was one of the drugs you didn't even know existed. Much like krokodil, sisa is a poison that rots your body from the inside out, inflicting lasting damage to vital organs and leaving the skin covered in welts. There's also the risk of insomnia, heart attack, and violent behavior.
Whoonga is from South Africa. It's marijuana and detergent powder that's also cut with the anti-retroviral (AVR) drugs meant to wipe out AIDS. I bet you wish it was one of the drugs you didn't even know existed after reading that description!
AVR drugs make the whoonga high last longer and since they're often given out for free, there's little reason to not take them. Sometimes, though, dealers will purposefully infect themselves with HIV just to get more AVR drugs.
I really don't know at what point of this description I should have called it quits for the human race because it seems like it's at every juncture that Whoonga just really wants to be the saddest drug around. And that's compared to sisa and krokodil too. It's a drug I wish I didn't even know existed.