Rising trend of Devil’s Breath: A growing concern

Tasnim Tazin

Published: May 4, 2024, 10:14 PM

Rising trend of Devil’s Breath: A growing concern

Representational Photo

In recent years, incidents of individuals willingly surrendering their belongings—phones, jewelry, money, even properties—to strangers have become alarmingly common in various parts of the country. While this phenomenon may seem surreal, it reflects a disturbing reality unfolding across the nation, including the capital.

At the heart of this trend lies a potent drug circulating among criminal networks, known as "Devil‍‍`s Breath" or "Scopolamine." Derived from a type of perennial shrub native to Mexico, this drug induces a temporary state of complete mental submission in its victims within moments of exposure.

"Devil‍‍`s Breath," notorious within criminal circles, is employed by perpetrators within the web of theft and harassment. Typically, members of these nefarious groups approach their targeted individuals, often women or men, seeking various forms of assistance, such as showing an address on paper or requesting a phone number. However, the paper, phone, or designated object is laced with Scopolamine.

The effects of this drug are far more insidious and perilous compared to conventional narcotics. Even inhalation through the mouth can swiftly introduce Scopolamine into the victim‍‍`s system, seizing control of their minds almost instantaneously, enabling the perpetrators to exploit them.

Victims, under the influence of Scopolamine, willingly part with their valuables, as if relinquishing their own agency. This involuntary state of mind can persist from several minutes to as long as 24 hours.

This menace has infiltrated everyday spaces: hospitals, shopping malls, and even homes, making ordinary citizens vulnerable to the devil‍‍`s breath. Beyond Dhaka, districts like Narayanganj, Bogura, Khulna, and Faridpur are witnessing the proliferation of Devil‍‍`s Breath.

Law enforcement‍‍`s efforts to curb the sale and usage of Scopolamine, and to apprehend members of these criminal syndicates, have yielded some arrests. However, the general populace remains ensnared in the grip of this menace, with no respite in sight.

Even online platforms have become hotbeds for the unchecked sale of Devil‍‍`s Breath.

Excessive ingestion of this drug can lead to severe neurological damage and even death. Experts advise vigilance: wearing masks in public, refraining from engaging with strangers, promptly leaving suspicious situations, and seeking medical help if one becomes a victim.

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