MOST DEVIL’S BREATH STORIES SOUND ABOUT THE SAME. Somebody has a friend or a cousin or a friend of a friend who was out one night when somebody slipped them something. They would wake up the next morning with their bank account drained, their belongings (or organs) gone, or much, much worse — and that’s it; that’s all they remember.
It’s the kind of story that feels so pat, so simple, so instructive that our reflex is to take it merely as an urban legend, a sort of dark parable. It’s the kind of story that keeps hands on top of drinks in unfamiliar bars or encourages college kids to exercise caution when venturing overseas for the first time.
It’s no surprise then that when such devil’s breath stories emerged out of Paris last summer, media outlet after media outlet after media outlet still questioned whether the drug was actually real or just a horrifying hoax.
For the media outlets who knew the stories to be all too true and the government agencies who know that around 50,000 of those incidents occur in Colombia, the drug’s hotbed, each year, their question was a different one: Is devil’s breath the “world’s scariest drug”?
Next: It all starts with a lily-white flower…