“When God, in the beginning, created man, he made him subject to his own free choice . . . . There are set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.” –Ecclesiasticus 15:14-16
Other than life itself, free will is the most precious gift our Creator gives us. This includes the freedom to believe in Him or not. Imagine that.
Thomas Aquinas explains in Summa Theologia: “Man has free will: otherwise counsels, exhortations, commands, prohibitions, rewards and punishments would be in vain.” Only by our free choice to do this or that, only by our freely choosing to believe in, obey, honor, and love God do the preceding acts have authenticity and meaning. For what good is a love that is coerced?
Free will being this supreme precious gift, the most evil thing is to take that away from us. That is exactly what a terrifying new drug from Columbia does — it erases our free will.
Beth Stebner reports for the UK’s Daily Mail, May 12, 2012, that scopolamine, colloquially and aptly called “Devil’s Breath,” is a chemical that is currently being dealt on the streets of Columbia. This most dangerous of all illicit drugs can block free will, erase one’s memory, induce hallucination, and even kill.
Scopolamine comes in an odorless tasteless powder and is derived from the Borrachero tree common to South America, which blooms with deceptively beautiful white and yellow flowers. Borrachero is loosely translated as “get-you-drunk”.
Stories surrounding the drug are the stuff of urban legends, with some telling horror stories of how people were raped, forced to empty their bank accounts, and even coerced into giving up an organ.
VICE’s Ryan Duffy traveled to the country to find out more about the powerful drug. In two segments, he interviewed those who deal “Devil’s Breath” and those who have fallen victim to it.
Demencia Black, a drug dealer in the capital of Bogota, said the drug is frightening for the simplicity in which it can be administered. Scopolamine can be blown in the face of a passer-by on the street, and within minutes, that person is under the drug’s effect. “You can guide them wherever you want. It’s like they’re a child.” In high doses, the drug is lethal.
The drug turns people into complete zombies and blocks memories from forming. So even after the drug wears off, victims have no recollection as to what happened.
One victim told Vice that a man approached her on the street asking her for directions. Since it was close by, she helped take the man to his destination, and they drank juice together. She then took the man to her house and helped him ransack her own belongings and her boyfriend’s cameras and savings.
According to the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, the drug – also known as hyoscine – causes the same level of memory loss as diazepam.
In ancient times, the drug was given to the mistresses of dead Colombian leaders – they were told to enter their master’s grave, where they were buried alive. In modern times, the CIA used the drug as part of Cold War interrogations, with the hope of using it like a truth serum.
Here’s a video:
H/t FOTM’s beloved moxielouise and radio talker Jack Blood