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Shocking naked pictures highlight the toll of new synthetic drugs

By The Siberian Times reporter
04 February 2014

Lethal mind-changing designer narcotics - 'a new one every three days' - are virtually impossible to curb, warn experts and police.

A 25 year old woman - as if in a trance - walks naked across an ice rink on Lenin Square in central Novosibirsk, oblivious to the cold. Picture: Novosibirsk evacuation service - AST 54

Deep in midwinter, with the temperature at minus 7C, a 25 year old woman - as if in a trance - walks naked across an ice rink on Lenin Square in central Novosibirsk, oblivious to the cold. A few month earlier, on a balmy August day, another young woman wearing no clothes was seen on a busy city street.  

'She walked, then ran. Sometimes she stopped and talked to passers-by,' said an eyewitness. Her behaviour was erratic. She shouted 'I am God' before throwing herself through the window of a shoe shop. In June, a naked man  ran around a busy road before trying to climb under the wheels of a truck. A month later, another man with no clothes was seen crossing a busy street in Novosibirsk. All these cases were in just one city, and are the tip of the iceberg. 

All these episodes are seen by experts as caused by synthetic drug cocktails known as 'bath salts' and 'smoking mixtures' which are cheap and almost impossible to control, because the formula constantly changes. The drugs mimic the impact of marijuana, cocaine, LSD and other banned substances, and their consequences are far deadlier than a naked stroll. The ingredients often arrive from China in innocent-sounding online shopping packages, defying normal methods of tracking better known illegal narcotics.

Naked girl on the street

'She walked, then ran. Sometimes she stopped and talked to passers-by,' said an eyewitness. 'Her behaviour was erratic. She shouted 'I am God' before throwing herself through the window of a shoe shop'. Picture: NGS.RU

The acting head of the Federal Drug Control Service in Novosibirsk region, Vadim Akimov, said: 'The first parcels came here quite legally under the guise of powders against moles, grease for door hinges, corrosion-resistant equipment for cars. 

'They all contain the psychoactive substances of synthetic origin, which are not included in the list of banned products, but act as a very real drugs. This is the most complicated thing. Even dogs cannot sniff them.'

He warned: 'The formula is constantly changing, a new substance is added, and it is another product, again, and, in fact, legal. In our region, we see three to five new formulas each month.'

Naked man carried by two policemen

Man with no clothes was seen crossing a busy street in Novosibirsk. Picture: Novosibirsk evacuation service - AST 54

Advertisements for these drugs appear on the walls of apartment blocks, fences and even at bus stops. They usually include a mobile phone number and the name of  the drug, like 'Portugalia' or 'Mint', so even schoolchildren can obtain them. One gram of 'bath salt' can cost about 1000 - 2000 roubles ($28.50 to $57) depending on its 'quality'.

In 2011, some 11kg  were seized from illegal synthetic drug trafficking.  In 2012, this rose to 130 kg. But this is also the tip of the iceberg. 'In 2013, we saw a sharp increase of poisoning with smoking mixtures and salts,' said Ravil Terkulov, the regions chief narcotics' specialist. 'The effect is similar to use of hard drugs. The same sharp and quick addiction. Enough even after two uses.' Behavior is unpredictable: addicts can be aggressive to themselves, or others. 

Psychaitrist Sergei Pronin said: 'Mostly they fall into hallucinations and they began to feel fear and panic. That is why some of them undress, but they do this mostly in summer, not usually when it is minus 35C in winter.' Some experts say the addict feels they can suffocate in their clothes, or feel danger like their clothes are crawling with insects. He added: 'The harm of such drugs is well known - degradation of the person, suicide attempts or sudden death because of an overdose.'

Many 'salt' addicts are aged between 20 and 30, he said. 'Of course, we also have other age groups. And it is rare when a person begins to use these drugs suddenly, from nowhere. 'The most common situation is when he or she has another addiction, even just a smoking addiction. They began to smoke tobacco and to drink alcohol and that means that person became addictive and can move later to the other drugs. Addictive people will always seek a drug - it can be heroin, marijuana, salt or alcohol. And that is the main problem.' 

Drug advert on the wall

Advertisements for these drugs appear on the walls of apartment blocks, fences and even at bus stops. They usually include a mobile phone number and the name of  the drug. Picture: NGS.RU

'We now have all means to remove a psychotic state and to cure the addiction, despite of some statements that salt addiction is incurable. We can cure this, but the main question is rehabilitation and socialisation. It is a key point. I think that we need special professional consultants who can oversee former drug addicts and communicate with their community. 

'The second important thing, we need to work with addiction as a whole. It is not very important for us - heroin addict or salt addict, we have methods and medicines for each of them. Our main task is to fight with addiction. And it will be more effective if we can educate  society when it does not have addiction, right from childhood. When a person is more interested in sport and a healthy lifestyle than in new feelings which can lead to a new drug.'

The director of the Federal Drug Control Service Viktor Ivanov has warned of more than 100 new drugs appearing in a year. He described the situation over contraband of so-called "designer drugs" from Southeast Asia and European states as 'extremely difficult'. The confiscation of synthetic drugs has increased by several times, but the new 'designer drugs' are more concentrated than heroin.

Naked man on the busy road

Some experts say the addict feels they can suffocate in their clothes, or feel danger like their clothes are crawling with insects. Picture: Youtube.com

A new drug appears every three days, he said, warning they are spread at nightclubs. 'This proves the scale of a threat, which is posed to the country's security,' he warned. 'There are all grounds to say night clubs became places where drugs are spread on a massive scale. Tolerance by the club managers creates an advantage for bigger profit.' 

Comments (1)

Interesting but why are they censored?
Richard, Saipan
15/04/2020 16:04
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