Scopolamine, Upstream Color and Premature Burial

Vice magazine‘s two year old documentary covers the varied and nefarious uses of scopolamine, an extract from the seeds of the Datura plant. Though the exact toxicity level of the drug is unknown, even very small amounts can result in death. At sublethal levels, the drug causes amnesia, suppression of sleep and, as confirmed by a 1973 study performed by the US military, docility.

Scopolamine molecule

Scopolamine molecule

Because of these properties, it has garnered interest as a possible “truth serum” and has been used in the same manner as the date-rape drug Rohypnol. Unlike Rohypnol, however, users of scopolamine remain conscious but in a deeply suggestible state. Captors may repeatedly drug their victims, using them as prostitutes for extended periods, taking them to ATMs, or even reportedly convincing them to hand their infant son over to human traffickers.

How scary is scopolamine? It’s convince you that you want to be buried alive scary.

As I watched the documentary, I couldn’t help but think about the wonderfully strange Upstream Color, a movie about a woman who is forcibly drugged with the extract of an orchid. The film, my new favorite movie, is ethereal and terrifying and difficult to interpret. One thing is clear, however– during her resulting stupor, she is defrauded and driven to ritualistically performing series of tasks upon the suggestion of her captor. The rest of the movie plays out her attempt to recover emotionally, as well as physically, despite being inextricably linked to her trauma as well as a plant.

Datura (Jimson Weed) at Cordova Lake, Ontario

Datura (Jimson Weed) at Cordova Lake, Ontario (Photo credit: bill barber)




Aside | This entry was posted in nonfiction, science, travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Scopolamine, Upstream Color and Premature Burial

  1. Pingback: Datura | Find Me A Cure

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