PESHAWAR: Forget weed, Pakistanis are smoking dead scorpions to get high.
A dead scorpion is first dried in the sunlight or burnt on coal. The coal is kept on a traditional stove, and the scorpion is allowed to cook until it burns to death.
In India, where the use is common in a few states, the method is quicker and more expensive. People holding scorpions in their hands park themselves in specific spots, and addicts come to have a ‘sting of pleasure’. They pay between Rs 100 and 150 for each sting.
In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, some people mix the burnt tail with hashish and tobacco to smoke it in a cigarette. Sohbat’s method varies— he would use a ‘nacha’, which is a small pipe used to inhale drugs.
The high lasts for almost 10 hours. The first six hours are more painful, as the body adjusts to the high. Slowly, Sohbat says, the feeling eases into enjoyment.
Experts say that scorpion venom is dangerous for the human brain when inhaled. Among the 1,750 described species of scorpions, 25 are fatal to humans. Scorpion smoking causes short and long-term memory loss,” says Jamal, who is a medical officer at the Khyber Teaching Hospital.
The person addicted to scorpion smoking also develops sleeping and appetite disorders and starts living in a constant state of delusion. “Smoking causes hallucination, the state where a person has a perception of something which is not present,” he explains.
For one, scorpion smoking is practiced in secret places, and secondly, no data is yet available on an official level. United Nations Drug’s Office has not investigated the addiction in its reports.
Although there are no exact statistics that reveal the users’ percentage, research has been carried out to find the prevalence of scorpion smoking addiction.
Scorpions are used in medicines for diseases like cancer and AIDS. Unless their use is regulated, scorpion addiction poses a threat to the availability of scorpions for medical purposes.