Oxi addiction a growing problem in South America

Posted by Radu Tyrsina

Oxi - a relatively new addition to the South American drug scene - is more potent, cheaper and deadlier than crack cocaine.

The hallucinogenic narcotic is comprised of cocaine paste, gasoline, kerosene, quicklime and is smoked in improvised pipes.

Oxi addiction a growing problem in South AmericaOxi first appeared in the Amazonian border region between Brazil, Bolivia and Peru during the 1980s. Yet, its use was fairly limited and was not considered a mainstream narcotic. 



However, in recent years, the use of the highly-addictive Oxi has skyrocketed, cornering the market of run-down neighborhoods and other rural communities.

"The difference between cocaine and oxi is like the difference between drinking beer and pure alcohol,” says a federal police officer who operates along the Peru-Brazil border.
 
The market continues to expand as new cases of Oxi use make headlines in cities such as Sao Paolo, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro. 

Experts warn the rapid spread of Oxi is nothing less than catastrophic, as authorities appear relatively unprepared to deal with the drug.
 
Unsurprisingly, Oxi’s effects are quite deadly. Addicts experience paranoia, tooth loss, vomiting and uncontrollable bouts of diarrhea.

"The effects of oxi are so devastating. When a person starts using oxi they spend days just using, without eating properly," explains Sergio Lopes de Souza, the police chief of Epitaciolândia in Bolivia.

“They start to become very thin, almost skeletons, and they want to use more and more. If you do not stop you are a candidate to either die of an overdose or of other consequences of the oxi."
 
[Via The Guardian