Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported a few years back that the rate of scorpion addiction was steadily increasing throughout the country. You read that right — scorpion addiction. Like, the insect.
Apparently, people are regularly smoking scorpions, getting high from it, and developing an addiction to the arachnid's venom.
According to the book "Drugs in Afghanistan: Opium, Outlaws and Scorpion Tales," the practice of smoking scorpions has existed for quite awhile throughout regions of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. Though admittedly, the practice has never been too widespread.
Yet now, increasing efforts from the Pakistani government to fight drug abuse caused the price of traditional drugs like heroin and opium to skyrocket. This has caused more and more people to smoke scorpions as a cheaper alternative. Ain't supply and demand a bitch?
A person can buy scorpions in a public market for just a few cents and get high from smoking the tails. They can also just find and hunt scorpions themselves, though what kind of dedicated scorpion addict has time for that?
In India, addicts can meet up with scorpion dealers on the street and pay the equivalent of about $1.50 to get stung by a scorpion. Which makes stabbing yourself with a syringe sound like a cakewalk in comparison. In Pakistan, users will mix burnt scorpion tail with tobacco and smoke scorpion spliffs.
While some users have switched to scorpion venom as a cheap alternative to things like heroin, some people will tell you they prefer the high from scorpions no matter the price.
According to long time scorpion addict, Sohbat Khan, the high from smoking scorpion tail is far superior to so-called normal drugs. “Hashish and heroin’s so-called relief is nothing in front of scorpion,” he told Dawn. But at 74 years old, Khan has switched to opium, finding that the high from scorpions is just too harsh on his body.
According to users, the 10-hour high from smoking a scorpion tail begins with six hours of intense pain as the venom courses through the body. A four-hour high follows, where "everything appears like it is dancing," according to Khan.
Critics say that getting high off scorpions is far more dangerous than traditional drugs, and that the venom wreaks havoc on the brain. With time, a regular scorpion user will develop persistent hallucinations and lose their perception of reality, but users pay that no mind.