Oxi is a new and controversial drug that has been spreading quickly through Brazil and the rest of South America. The controversy surrounding oxi is related to the fact that authorities still know little about what the drug really is. What is known for certain is that it comes from cocaine paste, a step in the process of making cocaine and crack. It is also known that the use of oxi is very dangerous and extremely devastating.
What is Cocaine?
To understand what oxi is, the discussion must start with cocaine. Cocaine is a stimulant that is found naturally in the leaves of a South American plant called coca. Natives of South America have been using coca leaves for thousands of years because the compounds within it have important medicinal effects. Coca has been used to relieve pain, reduce fatigue, alleviate indigestion, and reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness. People have also chewed coca leaves for centuries because the cocaine in the leaves produces a high.
Cocaine acts by stimulating the central nervous system. It moves easily from the bloodstream to the brain where it causes a pleasurable sensation. It creates this feeling by causing a neurotransmitter called dopamine to flood the brain. In normal pleasurable situations, dopamine is released and then taken back up by neurons. Cocaine stops the uptake, which results in the flooding and a strong feeling of pleasure.
What is Oxi?
There are a few conflicting answers to what oxi is exactly. Because it is a newer phenomenon in the world of illegal drugs, little research has been done to determine what oxi is and how it is made. It also could be a term used to describe a few different variants of a drug. What most experts agree on is that oxi comes from cocaine paste, a step in the process of making cocaine powder and crack rocks.
The process of making cocaine begins by treating coca leaves with alcohol or gasoline to separate out the cocaine and similar compounds from the leaf. To separate the cocaine from the other compounds, acids and bases are mixed in. The resulting substance is treated with kerosene. A few more steps include sulfuric acid and methyl alcohol and the final result is freebase cocaine or cocaine paste. The paste can be turned into cocaine by making it a hydrochloride salt. To make crack, cocaine is reverted back to the freebase form.
The confusion over what oxi truly is begins with the cocaine paste. Many reports claim that oxi is cocaine paste mixed with gasoline, kerosene, and quicklime. Some people, however, suggest that it is simply cocaine paste, which naturally contains residues of gasoline and kerosene from the treatment process. Either way, the drug being called oxi definitely contains very high amounts of cocaine, more than crack, which makes it more dangerous.
Where Does it Come From?
Oxi is made and used in South America, mostly in Brazil. Although its popularity exploded only recently, some believe that it actually showed up for the first time in the 1980s. It originated in the Amazon rainforest in the western part of Brazil. The use of oxi spread throughout this region over the last few years and is used mostly by the very poor. Oxi is cheaper than crack, selling for as little as one U.S. dollar per rock. For this reason, oxi is devastating the very poor of Brazil. For a couple of years, oxi remained relegated to these small Amazon towns. In the last year, however, its use has spread around the country and has shown up even in Rio and Sao Paolo. Authorities fear that oxi will spread to other countries including the U.S.
How is it Used?
The huge popularity of oxi among the poor of Brazil can be explained by its low price and its potent high. Oxi is very similar to crack with higher amounts of cocaine and possible additives such as compounds similar to cocaine, gasoline, kerosene, and quicklime. It is used in the same way as crack. Users smoke oxi using pipes, mostly improvised from materials on hand.
What are the Signs of Oxi Addiction?
People who use oxi get only a very brief high. The high is potent and fast-acting, but it only lasts for a couple of minutes. This means that users are constantly on a search for the next high. An oxi user typically neglects everything else in their life. They do not eat enough and lose a lot of weight. They ignore hygiene and look extremely unkept. They often sleep in oxi dens with other users and leave their families behind. Observers describe oxi users as wandering zombies. There is no mistaking an oxi user for someone who is clean.
What are the Consequences of Oxi Addiction?
The effects of using oxi addiction are devastating. Preliminary research suggests that most oxi users die within one year of their first hit. The effects are similar to cocaine and crack use, but amplified because of the high concentration. Cocaine acts first in the brain and permanently alters aspects of it. Users gain a quick tolerance and need to use it more frequently and in greater amounts as time goes on. With oxi, addiction happens almost immediately. Side effects of its use include nausea, severe vomiting and diarrhea, headaches, tremors, muscle twitches, and serious paranoia. Hallucinations and psychosis, which is similar to Schizophrenia are also common. Ultimately, consistent oxi use results in death.
When to Seek Oxi Addiction Treatment
Because the use of oxi is so serious and addictive from the first use, every attempt should be made to dissuade someone from trying it. Besides the fact that it is so dangerous in and of itself, the ingredients and their quantities in oxi are unknown. What users call oxi could contain any number of toxic substances. Recovering from oxi addiction is extremely difficult and anyone who has used it even once needs help immediately.