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BABA Liquid -Synthetic drug in circulation: Intoxicating liquid with a high risk potential

Synthetic drug in circulation: intoxicating liquid with a high risk potential
Loss of control, vomiting and rapid addiction - new synthetic drug is causing concern for health authorities and clinics

For some time now, a new synthetic drug has been flooding the market, which is vaporized as a liquid in e-cigarettes. We are talking about Baba-Liquid or Baba-L, as it is often called, especially among young people. It is also misleadingly referred to as CBD liquid. After the designation "CBD" (cannabidiol) suggests that no intoxicating effect is to be expected, such as with psychoactive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or that the liquid is a legal product, this can reduce the inhibition threshold of willingness to consume, especially among adolescents and young people further lower for adults. The fact is, however, that these liquids often contain very high amounts of synthetic cannabinoids and a large number of other ingredients that pose a high health risk for consumers.

So-called "Baba Liquids" can trigger circulatory problems, tachycardia and panic attacks

These e-liquids are indistinguishable in smell and appearance from normal e-cigarette e-liquids, which may be a significant factor in the massive spread. The drug's supposed legal status makes it difficult for police to intervene and creates a false sense of harmlessness. However, the opposite is the case: the synthetic drug regularly leads to massive physical impairments in consumers, since the dosage of synthetic cannabinoids in the liquid can be very high and can vary with each bottle used, which makes an overdose more likely - circulatory problems, tachycardia and panic attacks can be the result, for example.

Those affected report rapid dependency and withdrawal symptoms

But what's the appeal of that anyway? In an interview with Alexandra Göbel, employee in health promotion and addiction prevention at the Schweinfurt health department, young people report that it is smoked or vaped as a substitute for cannabis because the young consumers are afraid of being caught handling illegal hemp products. According to their statements, they fear criminal consequences after the consumption of illegal drugs such as cannabis. The intoxicating liquids, on the other hand, are touted as a risk-free high – with devastating real-world consequences. The young users have their e-cigarettes to hand at all times and can vape the liquid almost anywhere. Hardly anyone in the area suspects that dangerous, intoxicating substances are being consumed here, as this is not noticeable through the smell.

The easy accessibility of the drug and the possibility of being able to consume it relatively inexperienced almost anywhere is fatal: For example, an inquiry by Alexandra Göbel at the Leopoldina Hospital revealed that the children and youth ward already had cases of children aged 12 and over who showed signs of drug-typical failure.

Affected people who had agreed to talk to the health department spoke of a very rapid dependency after just a few consumption units. Withdrawal symptoms appear after a short time, the consumers tell of high addiction pressure and massive physical impairments: extremely heavy sweating, headaches, regular vomiting immediately after waking up in the morning, lack of strength and drive.

In addition to the synthetic cannabinoids, other ingredients of Baba-Liquid should also contribute to this. Flavors and fragrances such as strawberries, cherries or woodruff are added to cover the originally acrid smell and taste of the liquids.

"Regardless of frivolous consumption, I'm interested in the motivation behind it. Why do young people and adults need this kick? What is behind this willingness to take risks and the search for the next high? Did I just slip into something through friends or do the drugs have a function for me, such as suppressing worries, stress, lack of prospects or boredom?” Göbel explains the approach in the context of official drug prevention and control.

Goal of drug prevention: To draw attention to the dangers of drug use

Their goal is to sensitize young consumers to the dangers of drug use and to show them ways out of addiction or – in the best case – to persuade young people not to start using in the first place.

All of this is discussed in one-to-one talks and the so-called FreD courses, which she regularly holds with adolescents between the ages of 14 and 21. Consumption is reflected and examined in every detail here. "FreD" stands for early intervention in drug users who first notice it, a free service provided by the public health department in the Schweinfurt district office.

New drug prevention campaign aims to raise awareness

In order to start earlier and to raise awareness about the dangers of Baba-Liquid, a wide-ranging campaign is currently running (more on this at www.landkreis-schweinfurt.de/drogenprävention). This is organized in cooperation with the city of Schweinfurt, the Leopoldina Hospital and the responsible authority, the Schweinfurt Health Department, and transported to the wider area. Schools, public transport, youth centers and communities are given priority.

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