April 7, 2010
We had heard about a drug in Colombia that essentially eliminates free-will in humans. It is called scopolamine and it seemed to us to be so completely out there–like a plot device in an awful Jack Black movie. In fact, it sounded so horrible and strange that we wanted to go down and try it out. So the producers and I compiled a laundry list of embarrassing chores for me to complete while under the influence and, chuckling hysterically to ourselves, got on a plane and headed for Bogota, Colombia.
Pause for dramatic effect.
Once we landed in the Colombian capital, it took all of about 60 minutes to realize there wasn’t going to be any more laughing. The fear that the mere mention of scopolamine struck in the locals was palpable and startling. As we dug deeper into this drug’s story, following the evolution of the plant and its uses, we began to appreciate the gravity of ingesting it. And we became fearful.
From its Wikipedia page:
In recent years the criminal use of scopolamine has become epidemic in Colombia. Approximately one in five emergency room admissions for poisoning in Bogotá have been attributed to scopolamine. In a bizarre case, a band of female thieves would impregnate their breasts with scopolamine and then would lure potential victims to lick their nipples. “Losing all willpower, the men readily gave up their bank access codes. The breast-temptress thieves then held them hostage for days while draining their accounts.”
Wouldn’t that be effective without the drug?