1. Sea Bream Heads The idea that you can get high from eating the heads of sea bream might sound fishy, but it's true—just ask the two Frenchmen who tripped out after a seafood dinner in 2006. One of them, aged 90, suffered auditory hallucinations and terrifying nightmares for the next two nights, while his 40-year-old companion saw horrible sights for 36 straight hours. The pair had been hit by a grave case of icthyoallyeinotoxism—the technical term for getting high off fish. The ancient Romans, as you'd expect, used to do sarpa salpa heads recreationally. But don't plan your psychedelic fishing trip just yet. The effects come from indole, a substance found in the algae and plankton in the sarpa salpa's diet, and which accumulates in its head. The levels of hallucinogens present vary greatly. Which means you could chew on fish heads for hours and still not see a single tiny winged devil.
2. Colorado River Toad Licking toads is one of those timeless urban legends that we've all heard—maybe you saw it on The Simpsons. But as with many things Homer does, you probably shouldn't copy him. Firstly, it's gross. Secondly, all toads are toxic. Thirdly, only one specific type of toad can get you high—and chances are the toad you just found isn't it. The whole “licking toads” rumor apparently began when someone saw some hippies chasing the warty amphibians through the woods. But the "proper" way to get high off them is hardly more appetizing: You have to hold your toad, gently massaging the soft venom sacks on the sides of its head and "milk" its viscous white venom onto a piece of glass. Dry, scrape and smoke—but not too often. Even though most of the poisonous bufotenin is burned off, the buildup from repeated toad-toking can kill you.
3. Nutmeg Suburban kids needn't look further than the spice rack for this high—yet the feds still haven't scheduled it. Perhaps that's because it keeps you high-but-nauseous for about 24 hours, leaves you with an incapacitating flu-like hangover for days and tastes absolutely awful—but even knowing that might not stop most enterprising teens. Almost all discussion about the over-the-kitchen-counter drug consists of strategies on how to make it taste less revolting, usually by mixing it into various liquids like milk or water a la Malcolm X tea. Online searches also reveal futile tips on how to mitigate the dreaded cotton mouth and dry eyes that users suffer. Despite all this awfulness, nutmeg's sheer accessibility keeps it popular.
4. I-Dosing Gullible teenagers looking for a high are a ripe market, but substances tend to draw the ire of their elders. Enter "I-Dosing"—digital "drug" recordings that claim to use the power of sound to alter your state of mind. For a dollar or two a pop, you can close your eyes, put on your headphones and trip out on “marijuana” or “cocaine” with zero side effects. At one point, I-Dosing caused a moral panic: the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics even put out a wire to parents about how their kids were getting twisted on MP3s. But reports from tech bloggers and The Fix indicate that it is not, in fact, possible to get a chemical high from these sounds. It's really just unscientificbinarual beat therapy repackaged to con kids out of a few bucks (but don't tell that to thesetrue believers). Hey, at least it keeps them off the real stuff.
5. Smoking Twix No, this isn't teen slang for some nefarious new drug; we are actually talking about the candy bar. Twix-smoking is a trend that—thanks to social media—just won't quite fizzle out. The Fix was taught the simple technique by some young people last year: Bite off both ends, put one end in your mouth, hold a lighter at the other end (because it ain't gonna stay lit) and inhale. Reports of the ensuing "trip" range from “It tastes like s'mores” to “And now there's melted chocolate all over my lap.” It's fairly obvious that breathing burning chocolate through the porous biscuit inside a candy bar won't get you high. Somehow that doesn't seem to dampen the attraction.
6. Corn Silk Kids have been looking for ways to get high at home since way back when. In one newspaper article from 1976, for example—charmingly entitled "Less Fun in Smoking Nowadays"—a man waxed nostalgic about how he used to sneakily smoke corn silk when his pappy wasn't looking. He recalls how boys used to dry the silks in a secret place, roll them up in papers stolen from their smoker dads and get puffing. It wasn't just the kids either: Farmers who couldn't afford tobacco did the same. Some rural Iowans reportedly do it to this day to top off a long day's work. But does it get you high? Aside from the intoxicating effect of limiting the brain's oxygen intake, no. But herbalists claim that it's good for your bladder if you take it in a tea.
7. Peanut Shells and/or Skins Those teens must still be really bored: Enter peanut shells and/or skins. The first red flag about this practice should be that no one seems to be sure about which part of the peanut you're supposed to smoke. Some advise that you spend the better part of a day peeling off the thin skins, while others tell you to crush up the shells and smoke 'em. Apparently the myth of their effectiveness began in the largely un-factual Anarchist's Cookbook, where the recipe calls for the shells of raw peanuts. If peanuts really did get you high, this practice would be a lot more popular than is currently the case. And all that secondhand smoke would leave people with peanut allergies in mortal peril.
8. Salamander Brandy Toads aren't the only port of call for those who seek a high via toxic goo that's seeped from the skin of an amphibian. But even more than toad-smoking, this recipe requires an unpalatable dose of animal cruelty. The hallucinogenic brew is made by tossing live salamanders into a barrel of fermenting fruit—so they excrete poisonous mucous from their skins in a hopeless attempt to prevent their bodies from absorbing ethanol, until the poor creatures die of exhaustion. Drinking this concoction reportedly results in hallucinations and—if certain Slovenians are to be believed—some powerful aphrodisiac effects. Removing the salamander corpses is optional.
9. Bananadine How do you extract banandine from bananas? First, acquire 15 pounds—yes, really—of bananas. Scrape off the insides of the skins, boil up the scraped pulp and then leave it in the oven until it becomes a fine black powder. This is precious bananadine—smoke three or four cigarettes of this to get high...or not. Because there's no such thing as bananadine. That didn't stop people in the '60s from freaking out in the belief that Donovan's song, “Mellow Yellow,” was based on partaking in this scourge. Even the FDA got pretty worried. So who started this nonsense? Some say it was a prank by singer Country Joe McDonald. Others blame a hoax by the underground paper Berkeley Barb. For some reason, no one suspects the banana industry.
10. Reindeer Urine Legend has it that Arctic shamans once stalked reindeer that dined on hallucinogenic fly-agaric mushrooms in order to collect their urine...and then drink it for its trippy effects. People drinking shroom-tainted reindeer pee sound too far-fetched to you? Andy Letcher, author of Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom, thought so too. That is, until he met a Scandinavian deer herder who did just that at a get-together with some indigenous Saami people. It turns out that the active ingredient in the toxic fly-agarics, ibogenic acid, passes through the reindeer's body largely unmetabolized, while the poisons are conveniently filtered out—giving humans a (relatively) nausea-free psychedelic high. Some even speculate that Christmas traditions are built around the fly-agaric 'shroom, complete with Santa's red 'n' white palette and his “flying” reindeer.
Pornography addiction deserves a little more respect, because porn affects the brain much like a drug, as illustrated by a new video from AsapScience (below). “The not-so-shocking truth is that pornography has profound consequences for the brain and acts, in many ways, like a drug,” says the SFW video. It explains that viewing pornographic images can increase tolerance, while causing loss of control and a compulsive need to get more. Just like drugs, porn can rewire the brain’s flow of the feel-good chemical dopamine, reinforcing the behavior until it becomes addictive. Some compulsive viewers may even experience withdrawal when denied their fix. This might explain why porn makes up 25% of all internet searches and is the 4th most common reason people go online, the video points out. Like any addiction, watching too much porn can create problems in “the real world,” such as making it “difficult to be turned on by reality.”
This article originally appeared on The Fix.â€¨
Was ABC’s Diane Sawyer drunk on election night? Unsurprisingly, her reps say no. “Diane’s fine, she’s exhausted,” said a spokesperson. “Diane’s been up for days and she’s had many sleepless nights. She was covering the hurricane and then preparing for the election broadcast.” Reasonable explanation, though “exhausted” is often a PR code for snoggered. Fix readers took a snap poll and were highly skeptical—with 59% deeming that the anchor was indeed under the influence. Whatever the cause, her slurred request for ABC’s election theme song when President “Orama” won Minnesota has earned Sawyer an eternal spot in the pantheon of (alleged) boozecasters.
Local reporter Annie Stensrud put Mankato, Minnesota, on the map in late 2011, when a video of her slurring her way through an entire newscast went viral. She starts off strongly, but after barely maintaining composure through the weather forecast, her speech degenerates into a slow-mo stutter. “Other events today included holiday card-making, tree lighting and Play-Doh for the kids it, all aimed at to get decrease people to Christmas spirit there [sic],” she reports. Was she really drunk? Who knows? That she was arrested for DUI just a few weeks afterward the notorious newscast, Stensrud said her stuttering was in fact a result of the anti-anxiety meds she was taking. And the DUI? She was driven to drink because her infamous newscast had been laughed at as far away as Germany, she claimed.
Meteorologist Walter Kelly was in a sunny mood during this freeform jazz odyssey of a seven-day forecast in 2009. He rambles on about how impressive the weather is, describing people enjoying a pleasant Memorial Day as “happy, slap-happy zombies” who are ecstatic about “the whole thing, meat and potatoes, you know, that time when you were out camping?” With his dance moves and use of “woooh” as punctuation, many have found it hard to believe he could have this much fun without a little help.
Broadcasters’ ability to flip into on-camera mode is legend—but we rarely see the transformation take place unless someone screws up. Like in this 2009 broadcast. One station cut a few seconds too early from its anchors’ somber summary of the death of a rookie cop to reporter Scott McKane. Viewers are treated to him saying, in a wistful Clint Eastwood manner, “…got an ice-cold cerveza.” He then flips into “sober” mode to give his report.
When the video of Serene Branson‘s totally incoherent live coverage of the 2011 Grammys went viral, some netizens made drunk jokes, others made blonde jokes. Even more were horrified that people were laughing at a possible stroke victim. “Well a berry very heaveh ah heavy do it birdtation tonight,” says Branson, with perfect reporter cadence. “We had a very dares darrison bite’n'let’s go hit terish tazen mushfulabit the head the pit.” Happily, it wasn’t a stroke, but a special type of hereditary “complex migraine”—according to Branson’s doctor. She was accepted back into the CBS fold, where she still works today.
Jessica Savitch had a reputation for being highly-strung, beautiful, ambitious—and having a nose for drugs. Some said it was cocaine, others codeine—still others thought that she just got high on the pressures of her job. And her success was hard-won: “First I got hit with ‘You can’t have the job because you’re a woman,’” Savitch said. “Then I got hit with ‘You only got the job because you’re a woman.’” Watching her final broadcast before a car accident caused her death from drowning in 1983, it’s hard not to suspect that she was on something. Her incoherent reporting clashes bizarrely with her clear, practiced enunciation. Unconfirmed as it is, it’s still a sad reminder that while intoxication can amuse, it can also be deadly serious. Savitch’s trailblazing legacy includes, among other things, inspiring Will Ferrel‘s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
Since the biggest drug bust ever recorded in 1989, the United States has opened an ever-widening spigot of federal spending, amounting to around $1 trillion. It has focused on military and paramilitary interdiction that has crossed countless borders into sovereign countries, in both covert and overt actions that have strained diplomatic relations. Every year since 1989, the US has spent more money than the last. In '89, under the leadership of President George H. W. Bush, the feds spent a modest $7.8 billion on the WoD. Today, the annual cost has risen to $26 billion. The result? The US incarcerates more of its citizens than Stalin did at the height of the Soviet gulags—most of them low-level drug offenders. So what do we get in exchange? Some flashy police work. Read on.
1. The Trans-Border Railway, 2012
$21.2 Million (in today's dollars)
Mexican marijuana traffickers took a page from American history and built their own version of an underground railroad—for a much less noble of a cause: transporting weed across the California-Mexico border. After following a suspicious truck to a Tijuana warehouse, police found the entrance to a freshly-excavated clandestine passageway. The 1,800-foot long tunnel was complete with a light rail system that smoothly delivered marijuana from a crawlspace on the California side. All in all, authorities seized 30 tons of pot worth $20 million. Fun fact: California had just voted against legalizing marijuana just two days earlier.
2. Operation Aussie X, 2008
Aussie ravers went home with empty Mickey Mouse-gloved hands after Australian Federal Police stung a big ecstasy supplier in Melbourne and seized 4.4 tons of MDMA (15 million pills) worth $309 million. The AFP undertook a year-long operation that netted them players from top to bottom, including bosses, dock workers and freight haulers who organized the massive E shipments inside 3,000 tomato cans imported from Italy. It's hard to tell who were the real victims here—clubbers trying to dance to house music without the stuff, or those forced to watch them try.
3. Cowabungle, 2010
Credited as the biggest drug bust in Mexican history, Cowabungle also boasts the least subtle packaging in which weed has ever been delivered: brightly-colored cartoon labels, some of which boasted an elated Homer Simpson exclaiming “Voy de mojarra, que wey!” which roughly translates to “I'm going to get high, dude!” Though Otto Mann might have been better qualified to offer such an endorsement, Homer actually did once have a (legal) stint with the stuff. Unfortunately for the cartels, the packaging made the 105 tons of pot easy to identify, and the police apprehended 11 suspects after a shootout in which no one died.
4. Can't We All Just Get Along? 2005
Haul: $415 Million
Right now, American politics might be blood-soaked battlefield, but in Colombia, politicians use real blood. Instead of chattering ceaselessly on cable TV, Colombian far-left and right wingers often squabble with assault rifles. However, there's one thing on which the Marxist revolutionaries and right-wing Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) can reach across the aisle and agree: hawking coke. Colombian police put a dent in this love-hate relationship when they seized 14 tons of AUC-owned and Marxist-guarded cocaine, worth $350 million, hidden along the Mira River. "This is the biggest haul ever seized in the world in a single operation, in a single day and in a single place," Colombia's national police chief said.
5. Busloads of Hash, 2008
Haul: $376 Million
The War on Terror intersected with the War on Drugs in this bust, which netted a whopping 260 tons of hashish, or roughly equivalent in weight of about 30 double-decker buses—and worth about $350 million. With that much hash tucked inside a bunch of trenches and bunkers, the military found it most feasible to save on man-hours and call in an airstrike: “two aircraft were brought in to destroy the underground bunker in which the hashish was being stored." Now that's a full-scale operation.
6. Operation Decked, 2007
Haul: $670 Million
A cadre of coke smugglers opted to pull a Gus Fring and hide in plain sight. But after the DEA and the Coast Guard seized their 20 tons of cocaine in the waters near Panama, it's safe to say they wished they stuck with the tried-and-true muling of swallowed balloons. On this botched operation, the cartel “simply loaded these bales of cocaine into cargo containers on the top of the deck of this freighter,” said a DEA administrator in charge of the bust. “They were just sitting there on the main deck.” At the time, this was the largest maritime cocaine seizure by US forces.
7. You Don't Know Pablo, 1984
Haul: $2.2 Billion
At the height of his infamy, coke kingpin Pablo Escobar was raking in a million dollars a day by supplying America with 50% of its cocaine. He transported it with his massive fleet of vehicles, including helicopters, planes, boats—and even a submarine. A lot of the white stuff was made in Tranquilandia, an eponymous secret jungle laboratory complete with its own airstrips, a personal army, dormitories and off-the-grid water and electricity. But if you build it, the DEA will come: by following tracking devices hidden on Escobar's raw materials, agents were able to hunt down and seize 14 tons of cocaine worth over $1 billion. It put a modest dent in Escobar's estimated $25 billion a year till.
8. Cache and Carry, 2009
Opium trafficking is a huge fundraiser for terrorist groups like the Taliban and a whopping 90% of the world's opium supply comes out of Afghanistan, so the Afghan military considers this raid, in which 92 tons of opium poppy seeds were seized, a win in both the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. It's credited as the “single-largest drug cache by Afghan-led forces in Afghanistan to date” in a statement by allied forces. Huge success? You decide: "A total of 60 militants were eliminated as they mounted an ineffective and uncoordinated defense against friendly forces,” the armed forces' statement reads. And just like the massive 260 ton hashish bust the year before, this stock was obliterated via airstrike.
9. I Lost My Smack in San Francisco, 1991
Haul: $5 Billion
San Fran's junkie population got a little involuntary detox when authorities made the biggest heroin bust ever. TV crews got footage of the 59 boxes filled with 1,059 pounds of China white heroin that had just made the long journey from Thailand and landed in the Bay Area with a street value somewhere in the range of $2.7 billion and $4 billion—more than the DEA's entire budget for 2010. Drug War commanders say that this seizure was roughly 5% of the world's yearly production.
10. The High Life, 1989
Haul: $13 Billion
In a warehouse located in an upscale California residential community in the foothills of of the San Gabriel mountains, the cops cuffed big time cartel kingpin Rafael Munoz Talavera and seized his $13 billion in illicit assets: a US record-breaking (and maintaining) 21 tons of cocaine, enough to cut five lines for every American. But even this impressive haul was small-time compared to the 77 tons that had moved through the warehouse in the time up to the arrest. For that much product, Talavera shelled out $81 million for transportation costs alone.