Author: Justin Mckibben
Ever since August 28, 2015 anyone and everyone seems to have something to say about Narcos, the new hit series that debuted on Netflix and has a monumental momentum that has not stopped since. The show has been talked about on practically every channel, has flooded all Facebook (not to mention other social media) news feeds, and has become a centerpiece of conversation in every medium.
Even the people who have never seen a single episode have chattered about how the plot must be well worth the hype, and everyone else eagerly awaits a second gripping and climactic season.
So why has Narcos taken over, and what hidden truths of the drug trade can we learn from it?
Narcos is an American drug trafficking crime drama television series that was created by various talented writers and producers, including:
- Chris Brancato
- Carlo Bernard
- Doug Miro
Narcos has Brazilian filmmaker José Padilha in the captains seat, and thus far he appears to have done a great deal of justice to the material.
This uniquely epic is so far a 10 installment long episodic portrayal of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and the Medellín Cartel has a thrilling way of packing a serious punch, while also entangling the tales of United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents.
Narcos unravels a dramatic reenactment of the real life events surrounding of the progression and expansion of cocaine drug cartels across the globe, while highlighting law enforcement efforts to bring it all crashing down. Wagner Moura stars as notorious Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar, with plenty of blood and brutality to go around.
True Narco Cinema
The series is set during the 1980s Colombian drug war, but it’s more generally about the myths that drug lords, politicians, and cops tell the communities they serve, which has historically been a way they preserve their power; feeding into the fear and mythology that surround them.
Narcos producers call this “magical realism,” but it is actually an old Latin American genre of a storytelling tradition called “narco cinema,” comprised entirely of B-movies about the drug trade. Narco cinema works its own magic through a deeply romanticizing the power and violence of drug lords; turning cops into villains, drug kingpins into underdogs turned heroes, and beauty queens into narcos.
Underneath all this, Narco cinema skillfully exposes the weaknesses and corruption of government systems that have allowed the cartels to infect them and take advantage of the people, which is a clever way to show the truth of how cocaine and cocaine traffickers like those on Narcos have devastated the lives of those around them.
Many people who have made a habit and even a living of dissecting and evaluating films and media have praised the series, and one thing many have pointed out is even though the show has bent the truth a bit to make for more entertaining television, it may more accurately portray the uglier, more sinister side to the reality of drug cartels.
Narcos has been valued by many as the first American production in the true narco-cinematic legacy. Unlike most American depictions of the drug trade, Narcos manages to glamorize its protagonists while still revealing the disturbing structural problems they are working within, exposing the world to the key dynamics in the real life drug wars; specifically the way drug lords and corrupt cops and DEA agents mold their own myths and do everything in their power to instill those terrifying yet empowering legends about them in order to preserve their power over the people.
Drug lords oppress the people, they terrorize communities and they destroy lives across the board. Yet because they are made into these grandiose legends of rags to riches through overcoming injustice, they are idolized. What Narcos has done in the eyes of many is it has continued to stroke the ego of the drug lord just enough, while trying to show the viewer just how disturbing and tragically wicked the world of the drug dealer can be. It is not all fun and games, not all a hero’s journey. It is a twisted and ugly world, and the hidden truth they try to display is that the legend is more important to the drug lord than the truth, because the truth is a lot uglier and a lot less heroic than the stories they tell about themselves.
Along with dramatic series about drug abuse and drug trafficking, Netflix also features some excellent drug documentaries that may also give you insight into how substance abuse and addiction destroys lives. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Last week we started to talk about how people have a history of trying some pretty crazy stuff to try and catch a buzz. Not every drug user gets quite this crazy or quite this gross, but if there’s a name for it than enough people have tried getting high off it enough to call it something. Here are 10 crazy and gross ways people get high or drunk, edition number 2.
In parts of Africa there a desperate heroin addicts who have resorted to injecting each other’s blood in order to get high. In an effort to piggy-back off of someone else’s high, one will shoot up heroin, wait a few moments, and then actually draw their own blood and inject it into another user. This probably doesn’t help the AIDS epidemic in the country, but hey… what are friends for?
In Argentina, Peru and Chile one popular drug had gotten the name Paco or ‘Cocaine Paste’, and is consumed primarily by the poor because of its low price, but the low price is because it is basically the accumulated leftovers from the preparation of cocaine, and includes random ingredients such as:
- Sulphuric acid
- Steel Wool
- Shards of glass
Sounds almost like someone scraped together stuff from the floor of a garage and smokes it from a pipe.
Dimethyltryptamine is found in many species of plants and is often used in South American shamanistic practices. One common hallucination experienced is seeing “Machine Elves” or otherworldly hallucinations of fractal humanoid beings. One common theory is that this drug is responsible for most of the alien abduction reports people have experienced. Thanks ET.
- Drinking Urine
In Siberia there are various tribes that use the Fly Agaric Mushroom as a psychedelic element in rituals, but the use of this mushroom is restricted to the shamans so that they may achieve a trance state. Because this mushroom has the ability to maintain its psychotropic capabilities even after passing through the digestive system, the other tribes memebers will actually drink the shamans urine in order to get the same psychedelic experience. So that’s why shaman never flush? Gross.
- The Booze Carrier
The soviet military nicknamed the supersonic bomber Tupolev TU-22 “Blinder”, which was built back in the 1960’s by the USSR, the “Booze Carrier.” Each plane carried 450 liters of pure grain alcohol for its hydraulic and de-icing systems, so needless to say the ground crew members found every excuse to dip into the planes stashes. Guess they didn’t pass out those miniature bottles of booze on these flights.
- Umm Nyolokh
The people of Sudan actually found an inventive way to catch a trip. The liver and bone marrow of giraffes is used to make a compound called Umm Nyolokh, which is believed to contain some amount of psychoactive components. Apparently people eat the contents to catch a quick buzz. I guess giraffes are the experts on getting high.
The combination of codeine cough syrup and mountain dew or sprite is typically called Sizzurp AKA ‘Purple Drank’. This is one most people know of, as it was popularized in rap music as early as the 1990’s. Since it became such a hot topic, many stories have circulated about rappers being hospitalized or even dying as a result of the overconsumption of codeine.
There are audio files or ‘iDose’ that are strangely speculated as to having the ability to get someone high using the binaural beats that can play around with the sensor in your brain. Supposedly it can be slipped into any kind of music, and there is some scientific truth to the effects of mood and relaxation, but claims that using certain frequencies to get high seems a little too much. Turn down for what?
Dramamine is a motion sickness relief medication that comes in a chewable formula, and often people use this medication when traveling. Apparently overdosing on this medication causes a euphoric and/or hallucinogenic state. This kind of abuse became popular among teenagers due to the fact it is legal and cheap over the counter.
This last one has gotten a lot of attention in the past year as it started to make its way to America. Originally heroin addicts in Russia who got desperate enough turned to desomorpine, which is often cooked in a home using OTC codeine and an assortment of cheap chemicals like paint thinner.
The use of Krokodil causes dark and scaly skin, surrounding the tissue there is often abscess and rot to the point when the drug eats away the skin until it falls off. This drug is so crazy and so gross, that doctors say it’s the hardest addiction to treat, and the life expectancy once someone is addicted is estimated at only 1-2 years! Talk about a buzz-kill.
The purpose of this blog is to be entertaining and informative. Here at Palm Partners, we know that addiction is a disease and not a choice. Therefore, addicts and alcoholics will take desperate measures to support their habit, even if it means doing things they never thought they’d do. If you are stuck in this kind of situation or you know someone else who is, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.
We’ve all heard the crazy drug urban legends and may have even believed some of them. Like, if you’ve taken 7 hits of acid in your lifetime, you are considered to be clinically insane. This one’s false, but, there is some drug-related folklore that’s actually true, or in-part true, despite how outrageous the tale seems. Here are the 5 most notorious drug urban legends (that are actually mostly true).
#1: PCP will turn you into a flesh-eating zombie
Terrifyingly enough, this one is mostly true, in that there have been a couple of cases of people using PCP then eating human flesh. You read that right. You may or may not remember the story of Antron Singleton, aka “Big Lurch” – his rapper name.
In 2002, after a nearly week-long PCP binge, Big Lurch was found walking the streets of Los Angeles in the middle of the night, naked, covered in blood and howling at the moon. When authorities went to his apartment, they found his roommate dead “with her lungs torn from her torso, and her body and face covered with …bite marks.” Upon examining Antron’s stomach contents, doctors found it to be “full of human flesh.”
In another disturbing PCP-related case, in 2009, a man ate the eyes of his 4 year old son while high.
#2: Molly is pure MDMA
Many people distinguish between Ecstasy (pill form) and Molly (powder/capsule form) saying that Ecstasy is almost always cut with other substances such as amphetamine, meth, and cocaine among others while molly is purely MDMA. The fact of the matter is that, just because you’ve obtained MDMA in powder form and it was sold to you as ‘Molly,’ that doesn’t mean that it’s pure.
The DEA has said that the purity of Molly is almost a myth because it comes in powder form and can easily be mixed with other drugs, which makes it even more dangerous. In fact, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, meth, and even bath salts have all been found to be mixed in with the supposedly ‘pure’ Molly.
#3: Drug dealers are selling colored and flavored crystal meth and calling it “Strawberry Quick (Quik)”
Emails began circulating back in 2007 and have been seen as recently as 2012 urging parents to beware of a new “tactic” by drug dealers who are targeting children by manufacturing a form of meth that is pink in color and smells and tastes like strawberry. The emails instructed parents to worn their children about accepting candy from strangers or even classmates and stated that there had already been cases across the country of this “Strawberry Quick.”
This notorious drug urban legend is a mixture of truth and myth because, while there are instances in which police have seized colored versions of crystal meth that resemble candy, the part about it being manufactured in this way so as to appeal to children is not true.
“We checked with all of our labs, and there’s nothing to it,” U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Michael Sanders said. “It’s not a trend or a real problem; I think that this was maybe someone with good intentions but jumped the gun.”
#4: Eating bagels with poppy seeds can cause a false positive for opiates on drug tests
This notorious drug urban legend was featured on an episode on the hit series Seinfeld, in which the character Elaine had eaten a poppy seeded muffin and then failed a drug test at her place of employment. As with every other episode, hilarity ensued. The thing is, this has actually happened in real life.
There are actual documented cases where people have lost their jobs or been turned down for job positions due to ‘dropping dirty’ for opiates on drug screens. It was determined that in these cases, the person had consumed poppy seeded bagels and other such baked goods causing a false positive for opiates.
This one is also a mixture of truth and myth because the federal guidelines for agencies that drug test have since the cut-off level for a positive, in order to eliminate many of the poppy seed-related false positives that were previously occurring. Therefore, it is no longer really a thing you can claim if you were to come up positive for opiates on a drug test.
#5: PCP is embalming fluid that people dip their cigarettes and joints in to achieve a greater high
This one is confusing because the second part of that statement is true but the first half is not. PCP is an intravenous anesthetic that was developed in the ’50s whereas formaldehyde (embalming fluid) is a completely different – and completely toxic – chemical. What confuses the issue is that, perhaps due to the widely-believed notorious urban legend that PCP and formaldehyde are one-in-the-same and therefore some people often mix the two substances together or, skip the PCP altogether, dipping their ‘smokeables’ in just embalming fluid.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Addicts and alcoholics are often referred to as some of the most creative and talented individuals on earth. We even develop skills in active addiction subconsciously that exceed those of ‘normies’ to adapt to our life-styles. Not always do we use these powers for good. Lately there have been some seriously stupid ideas for getting high in the news. Now it has been shown some of these were purely speculations and never proven, and a few were exaggerated in the media as part of a spree of ‘crazy drug trend’ stories. The question is, how many of these stories actually have sparked some curiosity and become fact? For now we will simply label them as they have been proven. Brace yourselves, it’s about to get weird.
- Jenkem- FICTION
Based on an internet hoax, the media started reporting that American teenagers were doing a new drug called “jenkem:” fermented human sewage, scraped from pipes and stored in plastic bags for a week or so, until it gives off numbing, intoxicating fumes, according to author Emma Guest. The idea supposedly originated in Zambia and reported on in many books about Africa and in articles by the BBC in the early ’90s. Jenkem resurfaced in 2007 when someone on a message board claimed to be making and selling it in Florida. So Florida all locals, this one may not be fact…. YET.
- iDose- FICTION
It sounds like something strait out of a comic book, but it was supposedly real. In 2010, tech blogs started reporting on kids getting high using mp3s that induce feelings of ecstasy. It’s said to use 2-tone technology through headphones to create the high, and was dubbed “iDose” by the News channel 9 in Oklahoma City, OK. There is some scientific truth to the effects of mood and relaxation, but claims that using certain frequencies to get a ‘high’ are quite false. The story is kids were apparently logging into certain sites and getting hooked up with free “doses” of audio files with names like “Gates of Hades.” Not sure about the withdrawals, but if you need to detox I think there’s an app for that.
- Vodka Tampons- FACT
This particular viral news story focusing on alleged teenage girls soaking in tampons in vodka to get drunk. Now if I know anything about teenage girls, it’s this- they’re terrifying- but I’m not sure this one is legit. But supposedly, this not-so-tasteful trend has documented cases as proof. Teens think it’ll get the alcohol to their blood stream faster without having to go through the barrier of stomach acid, and without alcohol on their breath so parents won’t find out, all this reminds us of the next trend (#4).
- Eyeballing- FACT
Afraid to be caught with the smell of alcohol on their breath, many kids have taken up the vodka eyeballing trend. Instead of throwing back a shot, teens hold the bottle to their eye and pour the liquid directly into the eye, which is laden with blood vessels. Because most vodkas are between 40 and 50 percent alcohol, it can scar and burn the cornea, and even cause blindness.
- Nutmeg- FACT
I know you got some! It’s probably stashed in your kitchen right now. High doses of nutmeg can actually cause vivid hallucinations, bringing many people wanting a legal alternative to the more infamous hallucinogens. Some are just hard out for money, but if your throw back massive doses of a kitchen spice you are in for it. These trips are typically described as unpleasant and closely resemble psychotic detachment from reality. Accompanying the high 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. So stay out of the pantry for a few days.
- Smoking Bed Bugs- FICTION
This is one random and disgustingly stupid trend that came out of nowhere and had the media all over the place- but ended up being an elaborate hoax. Catching and smoking bed bugs is not the average users ideal afternoon, but with all the madness of active addiction how can you tell what is too crazy? The sad part about this is, after all the hype it got, it probably did have a few people giving it a shot. Those people definitely need some treatment, or maybe just adult supervision.
- AWOL- FACT
“AWOL” is an acronym for “alcohol without liquid”. It’s the brand name for a device popularized back in 2004 for getting you drunk without the drinking part. Now banned in many countries around the world and in many states in America, an AWOL nebulizer makes it so you are literally smoking the ethanol gases in booze and excluding all the non-alcoholic ingredients. Other than the quicker rate of alcohol poisoning, this method of getting high prevents your body from vomiting, which is the quickest way to get rid of the alcohol that’s making you ill.
- Bananadine- FICTION
This is a throw-back. It was a fictional substance which supposedly could be extracted from banana peels and smoked to get high. The hoax recipe for its “extraction” from banana peel was originally published back in March 1967. It became more widely known when William Powel who believed was true, reproduced the method in 1970 in The Anarchist Cookbook under the name “Musa sapientum Bananadine”. Researchers at New York University have found that banana peel contains no intoxicating chemicals.
- Krokodil- FACT
In Russia heroin addicts who can’t afford the real thing have invented an easier and much more stupid method to get high. The chemical reactions with over the counter painkillers and other easily available chemicals can create a drug called desomorphine that has similar effects to heroin. It makes a brown gunk called Krokodil- named for its tendency to turn the skin of users scaly and reptilian as the toxic by-products eat away at the flesh. This is definitely not the ideal relapse drug. How many times will a random drug show signs of the zombie apocalypse?
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Ooo this should be a fun one! We’ve all heard them: crazy yet believable stories about drugs, which I like to refer to as Drug Urban Legends. These veritable “ghost stories” of the drug variety are most likely passed around by overly-concerned parents and sensationalist news casters as a way to convince folks that there is great imminent threat in the form of unwitting children turning into overnight drug addicts. So, without much further ado, I give you the latest in our Drug Myths Debunked series: Drug Urban Legends.
Drug Urban Legend: Drug-laced or poisoned Halloween candy
I’m willing to bet that everyone has heard a variation of this one at some point in their life. Like mine, your parents probably insisted on “checking” your candy before you ate it because it might have been tampered with in some way. Whether they cautioned that your candy could have been injected with poison, drugs, or somehow booby-trapped with a razor blade or needle, your parents got first dibs on your candy. If you were like me, your biggest concern was getting pennies, nickels, or ribbon candy while trick-or-treating. There has never been a genuine case of drug-laced or poisoned Halloween candy. Unfortunately, there have been cases of non-random poisonings by relatives that were made to look random by masking their deed with this drug urban legend.
Drug Urban Legend: Drug-laced candy or lollipops given to schoolchildren
There is a nugget of truth to this one although it has nothing to do with unsuspecting children being duped into ingesting drugs. There have been cases of drugs being found in lollipops and seemingly innocuous items that can be hollowed out for the disguise and transfer of drugs. According to the U.S. DEA, drugs such as THC, PCP, and heroin have been found in the form of hollowed-out lollipops but were never used for the distribution to schoolchildren. It’s easy to see how news of drug-laced lollipops could evolve into a horror story involving children since lollipops are usually associated with the innocence of childhood. In fact, that is probably why drug dealers and smugglers chose this specific item to corrupt, with hopes that their scheme would go undetected.
Drug Urban Legend: Drugs being smuggled in a baby’s corpse
This gruesome drug myth dates back to the 1970s and usually goes something like this: drug traffickers kidnap and kill tourists’ babies, which the then cut open, stuff with drugs, and sew shut in order to smuggle drugs over the border. Although drug smugglers are known to be both ruthless and creative in finding ways to transport their goods, there are no actual, verifiable cases of dead babies being stuffed with drugs and smuggled over the border.
Drug Urban Legend: The Legend of the Gnome
Now, this one was new to me. As the story goes, there’s a group of teenagers tripping on acid or mushrooms who are out and about one night, most likely walking through one of the teens’ neighborhoods. They come across what they believe to be a gnome or hobgoblin – something fantastic like that. They capture it and bring it home. After sleeping off the effects of the drugs, they realize that what they caught was in fact a child. Now, here’s where the story can go in two very different directions. The positive outcome is that the teenagers were unwitting heroes, finding a lost child. The story can also take the tone of a cautionary drug tale in which the teenagers, feeling threatened by the “gnome” in their intoxicated state kill it only to find out the next day, when they’re sobered up, that it was an actual child. Like the other drug urban legends above, this one has never been substantiated.
If you or someone you love is in need of drug or alcohol addiction treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.