A 36-year old Mallorcan woman has become the first person in Spain to test positive for burundanga, the street name for the chemical scopolamine, according to a report published in specialist medical journal MedicinaClínica.
The drug originates from the seed of the Brugmansia tree and is mostly produced in Colombia. Once refined it resembles a white powder similar to cocaine and has been used to carry out robberies and sexual assaults. It is said to leave victims helpless and unable to defend themselves. Later they are unable to recall anything about the crime.
The name “Devil’s breath” comes from the way attackers use the drug; it is held in the palm of their hand and blown straight into the face of the victim. They are then highly susceptible to a suggestion from the attacker, frequently going to fetch hidden jewellery or other valuables.
It has also been slipped into food and beverages so as to mask the intentions of the attacker .
The seeds from the plants, which are now widely present in gardens all across Europe, were traditionally used in shamanistic rituals in Central and South America to induce powerful hallucinations in users.