Tuesday 7 February 2023

Pink cocaine, the drug that is gaining strength in Costa Rica

Synthetic compound produces euphoria, depression, hallucinations and heart attacks

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QCOSTARICA – Pink cocaine also known as ‘Tusi’ or ‘Tusibi’ is a hallucinogenic drug that is produced by combining various substances of this type such as LSD and MDMA or ecstasy, which can be very powerful and cause death.

Pink cocaine produces emotional changes in those who consume it, including depression, anxiety, paranoia and health problems such as tachycardia and heart attacks that can be fatal. (Shutterstock)

In Costa Rica there are very few records on its consumption; however, there are already elements that allow us to infer that it is gaining strength in the country.

According to experts from the Institute on Instituto sobre Alcoholismo y Farmacodependencia (IAFA) – Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, this drug derived from phenylethylamine, is marketed as a powder similar to cocaine, but pink instead of white. Although technically it can have a milky color, striking hues are added to differentiate it from other psychoactive substances. It is consumed by inhalation in the nose or mouth.

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“It is very difficult to determine the components that make up this substance, because there are reports that it is also mixed with cocaine, benzodiazepines (psychotropic drugs with sedative effects) and other types of substances to make it more addictive for the person, even in other countries that They have found components such as heroin,” said José Valverde, a doctor at IAFA’s Casa Jaguar.

Authorities from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública (MSP) – Ministry of Public Security, report two seizures of apparent pink cocaine, the first in 2021 of a 20-year-old man with the last name Tobón, in Abangares, Guanacaste and a second this year. The details were not disclosed.

Pink cocaine not only differs from the conventional in its color, but also in its components, while the pink has hallucinogens, the white is a stimulant. Apparently, ‘Tusi’ could be up to six times stronger than regular cocaine.

Pink cocaine is a powder that is consumed through inhalation and is made up of hallucinogenic substances such as LSD and MDMA, popularly known as ecstasy. (JOAQUIN SARMIENTO/AFP)

Some of the symptoms that occur during and after consumption include withdrawal syndrome, euphoria, depression (which can lead to suicide), fear, sadness, fatigue, visual and auditory hallucinations, among others.

“The person becomes very active because it is a stimulant drug, there are many emotional changes, the person becomes sad, heavy, sometimes they feel very sleepy, but they can also have many problems sleeping or feel anxiety about trying the drug again. There have also been cases that have hallucinations, they begin to see things, hear voices,” added Valverde.

In addition, changes in the cardiovascular system may appear, such as tachycardia, heart problems that can lead to death, confusion that makes the person lose their sense of location, isolate themselves and paranoia since they tend to think that their family wants to harm them. Likewise, they can self-injure themselves after a strong anxiety or alteration.

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The IAFA currently has no record or studies on the use of pink cocaine. According to Valverde, its entry is just beginning to emerge in Costa Rica, with only a few minors at Casa Jaguar, ranging from 12 to 17 years old, who claim to have tried the drug.

While its use in Costa Rica is recent, there are reports in several European countries and also in Colombia, where this drug already has an established market. According to a report by Vice News, in cities like Medellín, it is even produced in apartments. Recipes vary from person to person, but most add LSD, MDMA, methamphetamines, ketamines and sometimes fentanyl, a highly addictive synthetic opioid used to anesthetize people and control severe pain and can be deadly.

Vice News explains that in Colombia its price per dose is around US$50 or US$80. Its effect can be immediate once inhaled, according to user accounts seen in the video, and the sounds of music act as enhancers.


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