What You Should Know About Scopolamine Abuse

Scopolamine isn’t really a drug that has yet become a household name in the United States, but its effects and increasing abuse rates have begun to start catching people’s attention. For the most part, the drug has been used as a post-surgery medication that alleviates nausea, but it is also often used in divers, fisherman, and cruise workers to aid in motion sickness.

However, Scopolamine has recently become a dangerous drug for many reasons. The first is that people are taking it as a party drug. The second is that it is quickly becoming a date rape drug.

So What Exactly Is Scopolamine?

In its intended form, Scopolamine is a drug used my medical providers after invasive surgery or when a patient gets put under via anesthesia. Many people experience extreme nausea and vomiting due to the medications from the anesthesia, so Scopolamine is used as a deterrent to those side effects.

Originally, the drug comes from a tree in South America that is in the same class as the plant Belladonna. The locals here often call their powdered version, “Devil’s Breath” because of its sedative, intoxicating, and even hallucinatory effects. Natives who use the plant will often mix it into a drink or blow the powder into the face of another to achieve these effects. According to researchers, large doses in this form can create a “zombie-like state” that inhibit both free will and memory.

The drug is often used to treat side effects from Parkinson’s disease, as it eases muscular spasm. The drug works by blocking the activity of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

How Can People Abuse Scopolamine?

Just like with any other drug or substance, this one can definitely be abused. The drug comes in tablets, injectable, and a transdermal patch form, making abuse extremely accessible. High rates of abuse have been found throughout prisons, and in South American countries as a date rape drug or a tool used by robbers to place victims in a state of submission.

The most common effects of Scopolamine are:

  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Hallucinations
  • Lowered Coordination
  • Confusion
  • Memory Loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth

According to reports from around the world, primarily in countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Spain and Argentina, Scopolamine is often used by robbers, kidnappers, and rapists as a tool to put their victims in a state of complete submission.

For example, news reports from these countries detail how criminals would slip Scopolamine powder or tablets into their victim’s food, drinks, or even onto napkins or pieces of paper, and then have their way with or rob their victims. Reportedly, due to the nature of the drug, the victims would sometimes just willingly hand over their wallets, credit cards, or car keys once the aggressor asked for them.

drug deal

Mixing Concoctions

As with any other drug, mixing Scopolamine with other substances or alcohol can lead to a deadly combination. This is why people who are recreationally abusing the drug for its sedative and hallucinatory effects can often find themselves far past their limit in a short amount of time.

Alcohol is especially dangerous when used in combination with the drug because it can rapidly increase the effects of:

  • Dizziness
  • Lack of Coordination
  • Lowered Inhibitions
  • Memory Loss
  • Blurred Vision
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lowered Heart Rate

People who are using as prescribed or abusing Scopolamine should absolutely avoid drinking alcohol while the drug is in their system. It can lead to alcohol poisoning, overdose, and even death.

In addition, people taking prescription medications for issues such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, bipolar, etc., should also avoid combining their medications with the drug Scopolamine unless being approved by a doctor or medical provider. Similarly, with these medications, they can often compound the effects of the drug, or they can mask the side effects of the drug, tricking the user into using more to achieve the desired effect. When this occurs, overdose can be a real threat as the individual may not “feel high” but can actually have large amounts of poisonous drugs in their system.

Scopolamine also has the ability to slow down the digestive system, as its main use is in the cessation of nausea. This means that the drugs or alcohol that may already be in the system will have a delayed digestion time. If the user continues to ingest more drugs, overdose or poisoning can occur.

This is why combining the drug with opioids, other hallucinogens, or buprenorphine can also be extremely dangerous. Drugs such as these can interact with the digestive system, and they also work directly on the central nervous system, which is where Scopolamine acts on the brain. This can overload the neurological system and can cause:

  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Heart Arrhythmia
  • Liver Failure


While many people who take the drug Scopolamine abhor the side effects that come with it, many people look for exactly that sort of feeling in a drug. Also, due to its many available forms for ingestion, the drug has started to pop up more and more as a substance that is commonly abused.

If you are worried that you or a loved one may be struggling with a Scopolamine addiction, there are often common warnings and signs to be aware of. Just like with any other addiction, this drug can begin to affect the physical, emotional, and mental states of abusers.

  • Do you run out of the medication before the prescription stated you would?
  • Are you spending more money than intended on the drug?
  • Have you come to rely on Scopolamine to get you through the day, to sleep, or in social situations?
  • Have you started to lose interest in hobbies you once loved, spending time with friends or family, or taking care of responsibilities?
  • Do you find that when you do not have Scopolamine; you can’t handle your emotions, or even sometimes life?
  • Has a friend or loved one come to you with their concerns about you using the drug?
  • Have you had to visit multiple doctors or dealers so that you can have enough Scopolamine to get you through?
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The Addiction Blog