In 2014, word of a drug called “Fly High” made the rounds on several news outlets. According to reports, this green capsule is your lethal trifecta of MDMA (the chemical compound commonly known as ecstasy), shabu, and Viagra. Individually, these drugs are already potent, with each known to have differing intended effects. Experts will tell you the three have no business being together; hell, even Neo knows nothing about a green pill, but our ever-changing world is all about innovation so here we are.
People who have tried it can attest to its potency. Our source, who requests anonymity, recalls how it made him reconsider dabbling with these unregulated pills:
"Let's just say that the ecstasy variant that went by the name 'Fly High' was potent enough that it made me decide to quit the drug. MDMA, in its purest form, has therapeutic benefits, I believe. And I still believe that. But the stuff that's out there on the streets? It's tainted with adulterants—shabu, caffeine, an a-z of chemicals. That's where it can become dangerous. It's unregulated stuff," says our source.
"Even the same type (i.e. Fly High) can vary in chemical content. You're popping an unknown pill most of the time. Sometimes, your body can react negatively. That was the risk I didn't want to take anymore, three years after first trying it. If you didn't die, maybe one of your friends will, and I'd hate to be that person who had to bring their body to their family and explain what had happened."
Consider then the recent case of the five people who wound up dead at a summer rave concert. People in social media have been linking their deaths to the said drug. Based on the report of Dr. Wilfredo Tierra, assistant chief of the NBI's Medico Legal Division, two of the victims suffered a "massive heart attack." Speculations continue to abound on the cause of the deaths, but no official statement has been released yet, pending the submission of the authority's toxicology report.
The drug, in its Green Amore variant, has been highlighted in social media following the incident. Green Amore is a deadly homebrew that puts Walter White's (aka Heisenberg) blue crystals to tears.
Methamphetamine is both a psychological and physical stimulant locally known as shabu. When it comes to addiction in the Philippines, shabu seems to be the drug of choice, regardless of class. In 2012, the UN World Drug Report specified that the Philippines had the highest number of meth users in East Asia, with a third of overall users being unemployed. It is physiologically dirty as it is psychologically intense, and prolonged use is said to make one ugly.
Ecstasy is also a form of methamphetamine and was a popular party drug in the '80s and '90s known to cause dehydration in some takers. These days, “E” has embraced more millennial terms like Molly plaguing concerts and music festivals as well as clubs. It's a drug of belongingness, designed to appeal to those partaking in social gatherings. A 2009 study by noted British neuropsychopharmacologist David Nutt ranked MDMA as the 18th most dangerous drug out of the 20 they studied. Heroin ranked as the most dangerous; cocaine ranked second; alcohol was fifth; and tobacco was ninth.
The sinisterly entrepreneurial drug peddler in our midst, of course, employs "creative" ways to cash in on its popularity, duping buyers and selling a cheaper but more pernicious variety spiked by PMMA (para-Methoxy-N-methylamphetamine, for the chemically curious), a psychedelic drug and more potent variant of methamphetamine.
Just last April, PMMA-laced pills killed five attendees at the Time Warp Argentina Festival held at the Costa Salguero complex.
Viagra, well, is for your penis. A pill that is intended to treat erectile dysfunction has somehow slithered its way into the recreational drug pool as an add-on, claiming to induce a sexual charge to ride that amphetamine high. Cialis, a milder version of Viagra, is reported to be found in Green Amore.
Pharmacology tells us that the mixture of the three is a straight up recipe for disaster. According to Dr. Mimoy Castillo, a general practitioner at the Batangas General Hospital, the effect of one is amplified by the other through potentiation, which the Mosby's Medical Dictionary describes as "a synergistic action in which the effects of two drugs given simultaneously is greater than the sum of the effects of each drug given separately."
He explains that alcohol is also a drug potentiator, so the effects are even enhanced if ever such a mix is ingested along with liquor. For example, the Viagra’s effects and accompanying side effects are only enhanced by the presence of shabu. The rush coming from ecstasy also only compounds whatever is already going on. It looks like this moonshine of a drug is super-charged with stimulants in the worst possible way.
Dr. Castillo adds that shabu is known to cause rapid heartbeat or tachycardia, and erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra and Cialis have been known to have harmful effects on the heart.
It is possible that the user could suffer from a heart attack if Green Amore makes its way into the system. Coupled with alcohol, which is a diuretic, this drug mash-up fast tracks the human body into dehydration. Not ideal when the weather is already one boat ride away from hell and basically everyone in the country is at risk of heat stroke.
Until the investigation yields its results, there’s no way of confirming whether consumption of this crazy amalgam of substances led to the tragic demise of the five attendees. But its dangers are clear and real. Human bodies are not designed to withstand extreme conditions, nor are they able to tolerate high doses of unregulated drugs. That's why flying high with the sun too close is one big NOPE.