Amidst a surge of new and trendy drugs is one that is more dangerous than the rest. This drug is more addictive, more lethal, and cheaper than many other drugs that people are familiar with or that are new on the scene.
Made with Toxic Chemicals
Oxidado, or “Oxi” for short, is taking lives and ruining others, yet it remains popular among certain groups of people. Oxi is derived from cocaine and looks like crack, but it also contains chemicals such as gasoline, battery fluid, and acetone. Oxi is made in people’s homes, using cocaine paste that has been soaked in gasoline. Other household solvents are added during the process, making this drug more toxic than most others. The director of a drug research center in Rio de Janeiro, Ivone Ponczek, said that Oxi was more dangerous than crack because it was easier to be produced. “While crack needs a mixture of sodium bicarbonate and others, and still needs a little know-how to be done, Oxi can be handmade, can be made by anyone,” (1) Unfortunately, this makes the drug very plentiful in places like Brazil.
An Unfortunate Brazilian Export
Oxidado, which means “rust”, originated in Brazil, possibly as early as the 1980s, but has increased in popularity since 2008. It is still a drug used primarily in Brazil, but word of it is spreading to other countries as well. It won’t be long until Oxi, which is causing a public health emergency in Brazil, will be causing alarm throughout the world. Because of how it is made, Oxi is up to five times cheaper than crack cocaine. The average price for one rock of Oxi is $1 to $3, while cocaine is often found for $60 a rock.
Dangers of Oxi
Before anyone goes looking for this drug to find themselves a cheap high, they should heed the warnings. Most people who use Oxi even one time get hooked. Most users die within one year. According to one researcher, Alvaro Mendes, who has studied the drug and its effects, “In the 15 years I have been working with chemical dependency, I have never seen a drug with such a potential of destruction as Oxi.” (2) Mendes calls Oxi the most addictive and powerful drug he has ever seen. Out of the 80 Oxi users he studied, 34 died during the study.
Oxi has the potential to grip its users so powerfully that they can think of nothing other than their next hit. The effect of smoking Oxi lasts only 3 to 5 minutes, but the damage to the body can be irreversible. Oxi causes users to quickly develop liver problems, severe stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea, and users lose weight quickly. But instead of being able to stop taking the drug or seeking help, users stop eating and are compelled to spend their time in abandoned buildings getting high. Most addicts forget about not only their responsibilities and families, but also personal hygiene and basic human needs. As one addict said, “You lose your shame when you take Oxi.” (2)