All About Devil's Breath, The Drug That Can Turn Healthy People Into Zombies

Burundanga, scientifically known as scopolamine or hyoscine, is colloquially known as Colombian Devil's Breath. It is one of the world's most dangerous drugs. Some simply refer to it as the "zombie drug" because of its physical and psychological effects on victims. That's right - victims. Devil's Breath isn't a recreational drug like weed or molly or even LSD. 

Coming from the flowers of the borrachero tree, scopolamine is indigenous to the Northern Indian Region of Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. People refer to Devil's Breath as the ideal drug for crime because victims won't be able to remember a thing. Jessica Maria is a Colombian prostitute who routinely uses scopolamine on clients. She tells Vice, "We use it to rob men, men use it to rape us. Everything about scopolamine has to do with hurting people.” 

Devil's Breath makes victims become incredibly agreeable, yet totally coherent. Still curious? Well, strap in, because things are about to get weird. Here's everything you wanted to know about the "zombie drug," Colombian Devil's Breath.


  • It Looks Almost Exactly Like Cocaine, But It's 10 Times Deadlier

    A gram of scopolamine is almost identical to a gram of cocaine. Same look, same weight, same density. One significant difference is that to overdose on cocaine, you need around around 100mg per person, whereas for Devil's Breath, 100mg could kill 10 people. After selling some to a pair of Vice journalists, a Colombian drug dealer said, “This stuff only has 3 uses. To rob,  to study, or to kill. It’s the transmitter of poison. It’s like anthrax. It’s worse than anthrax."

  • It Completely Eliminates Your Free Will

    Scopolamine leaves its victims completely conscious and articulate, but at the whim of suggestions. It entirely eliminates their free will while leaving their actions unhindered. To observers, everything seems totally normal, but the victim is basically under hypnosis and will have no memory of the event when the drug wears off. 

  • People Use It To Rob Victims

    People Use It To Rob Victims
    Photo: mrganso / Pixabay

    Captain Romero Mendoza of the Bogota City Police Department told journalists that "Burundanga Gangs" often use beautiful women as bait to lure men at nightclubs into a scopolamine trap. Then, the drugged victim drives the gang members to an ATM, where they willfully withdraw and hand over all of their money. Oftentimes, the victims are "kidnapped," although they're not exactly taken against their will, so it can be difficult to prosecute.

    Ivan Gomez, a victim of a scopolamine attack, describes his hellish experience: "We started drinking and dancing. It was all very normal, very healthy. What happened after that? I don’t know what happened. I have no explanation.” The next day, he woke up on a park bench badly beaten. They took money out of his bank account and cash advances on all of his credit cards, totaling almost 6 million pesos. When he asked the bank about the incident, they showed him a video of himself walking in alone and withdrawing the money while two people waited just out of view of the cameras. 

  • The Nazis Used It As A Truth Serum

    The Nazis Used It As A Truth Serum
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons

    Josef Mengele, the "Nazi Angel of Death," was notorious for importing scopolamine from Colombia to Germany during the 1930s and '40s for horrifying experiments during the war. Primarily, it was used as a truth serum during interrogations, but who knows what sort of sick things he could have done to the victims while they were robbed of their free will.