Psychedelics

Australian Grass Got Kangaroos So High on DMT They Couldn’t Walk Straight

Emma Betuel, writing for Inverse:

Viral videos of distressed kangaroos bouncing around erratically have stirred up concern and sympathy across the internet. Despite claims that these kangaroos look “drunk,” it might be more accurate to say that these kangaroos are high. They’ve been eating DMT-laced grass for days, and if earlier research on what the plant does to sheep holds true for kangaroos, it’s also causing a slew of other weird and potentially fatal effects.

At first glance this headline might sound funny or even cute, but one look at the video embedded in the article will show you how horrifyingly disorienting and potentially dangerous this is for the kangaroos.


Sri Lanka Will Start Hanging Its Drug Dealers to 'Replicate the Success of Philippines'

 Casey Quackenbush, writing for TIME:

Sri Lanka’s president says the South Asian nation will start hanging drug offenders, hoping to “replicate the success” of the Philippines’ bloody war on drugs, the Guardian reports.

“From now on, we will hang drug offenders without commuting their death sentences,” Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena told his cabinet, according to his spokesman Rajitha Senaratne, adding that he “was ready to sign the death warrants” of repeat drug offenders.

“We were told that the Philippines has been successful in deploying the army and dealing with this problem. We will try to replicate their success,” Senaratne said.

Duterte is rubbing off on the government in a predominantly Buddhist country now.


Thai Cave Boys Given Ketamine During Miraculous Rescue to Keep Them Calm

Alex Diaz and Mark Hodge, writing for The Sun:

Their recovery is said to be going well despite reports they were given the tranquilliser during their rescue in Thailand.

A source said: “The concern was that the boys would panic and put themselves at risk. They were given ketamine to stop that from happening. Thankfully, it worked. We’re all delighted that everyone made it out safely.”

Interesting to find out that the boys were given ketamine to help calm them down. How much, and at what point of the escape was it administered? Dissociatives don't exactly make operating the physical body any easier—especially at higher doses—and the boys had to go traverse an extremely challenging and dangerous evacuation route.


Japan Just Executed the Leaders of an LSD-Fueled Doomsday Science Cult

Daniel Oberhaus, writing for Motherboard:

Aum Shinrikyo was a religious cult for the internet age. Its members blended yoga, terrorism, murder, chemical weapon production, arms manufacturing, and software development to create a multinational LSD-fueled monster. This is the story of Aum’s creation, the role of science in its terrorist activities, and why the cult’s vision never really died.

Holy shit. What a story.

Many of these members were highly educated students and wealthy businessmen. According to a 1996 Wired feature on Aum, many of the cult's recruits were “the otaku—Japan's version of computer nerds—technofreaks who spent their free time logged on to electronic networks and amassing data of every type.” As such, Aum relied heavily on science fiction imagery and grandeur to pedal its vision of nuclear armageddon and techno-redemption to attract new members. Indeed, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy served as a sort of “bible” for the sect, which also aspired to build a utopian community of scientists.

This serves as a good reminder that nerds are not immune to bullshit. Or murders and chemical weapons, for that matter.


People Are Using Fitbits and Apple Watches to Monitor Their Heart Rate When Binging on Drugs

Christina Farr, writing for CNBC:

It isn't likely to come up in casual face-to-face conversation, but scores of users on Reddit forumsTwitter and other social media sites write about the value of their Fitbit or Apple Watch in tracking their use of cocaine, ketamine, speed, and other drugs. Dozens of these threads have popped up in the past few years on the topic, some focused on cocaine and others on MDMA, also known as ecstasy.

This is the first I've heard about people employing wearable technologies like Fitbits and Apple Watches to monitor their vital signs while under the influence of mind-altering substances. I would argue that this is a good thing, because it obviously highlights the potential negative physical effects of using some of these drugs, and if it helps a drug user understand what is happening in their body, that's a step in the right direction.

There's even a YouTube channel called DrugsLab with more than half a million subscribers. Three hosts perform on-camera tests of drugs suggested by commentators, while their heart rate and body temperature are tracked on a board behind them. The idea, they say, is to promote drug education for millennials.

I haven't mentioned it on the blog before, but DrugsLab is excellent—you should definitely check it out if you haven't already.

But don't expect your doctor to condone the practice. Academics and medical professionals told CNBC that people who rely on a heart rate monitor to protect them from overdosing or from other ill effects of hardcore drugs are giving themselves a false sense of security.

No surprise there. Doctors are simply not going to suggest that patients use these consumer-grade technologies to prevent drug-related casualties, just like they don't encourage or support the use of illicit substances in general. They have reputations to maintain and must protect themselves and their institutions from being sued by patients (or family members of deceased patients) who place so much faith in their Apple Watches that they think it will enable them to safely use drugs without experiencing harm.

However, that doesn't mean that this form of harm reduction should be avoided altogether—just that academics and medical professionals are not going to endorse this practice. At least not for now.