/ /

  • linkedin
  • Increase Font
  • Sharebar

    Tales from the Dark Web: illicit drugs, bitcoins, and social media


    Salvia is related to mint plants and contains the active ingredient salvinorin A—which causes hallucinations and cannabis-like effects. Side effects include dizziness, headaches, and floaters that are not real.2

    Kratom is derived from the Mitragyna speciose Korth tree, and acts on opioid receptors to reduce pain and produce sedation and pleasure. One chemical component, mitragynine, may interact with other brain receptors, resulting in a stimulant effect.6 Kratom is not currently regulated and may be sold as a green powder in packets that resembles bath salts.

    Kratom is also sold as gum or an extract. Its leaves may be brewed in tea, smoked, or eaten. It may be referred to as an herbal speedball, biak-biak, ketum, kahuam, or ithang.7

    Know the lingo

    Interested in searching for a fix on the Dark Web? You have to learn the lingo. AC/DC is not a band; it is codeine cough syrup. An ace is not a playing card; it is a marijuana cigarette. Adam is not the anatomy program you used to study from; it is MDMA.

    Related: Why optometrists are awesome

    Al Capone, Bart Simpson, Bobby Brown, and bin Laden are street names for heroin.

    Elvis refers to LSD. Bernice or Bernie refers to cocaine, while Beavis and Butthead refer to LSD. If someone talks about amoeba, it is not biology lab—it is PCP. Everclear now refers to cocaine and gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), not the grain alcohol that made frat parties so entertaining.

    Anadrol and Anavar are oral steroids, not avatar characters. Bedbugs refer to fellow addicts. Bingo refers to injecting a drug, and a brewery is where drugs are made.

    Sketching is not drawing; it refers to coming down after taking speed. Skittles are not the colored chicken pox candy; they are Coricidin cough and cold tablets. A smurf is not a little blue character with a white hat; it is a cigar dipped in embalming fluid. Smurfs (plural) refers to methylenedioxymethamphetimine (MDMA).

    If someone asks you if you are an author, he is asking if you are doctor who writes illegal prescriptions. I have to remember that one.



    1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. What are synthetic cathinones? Available at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/synthetic-cathinones-bath-salts. Accessed 9/1/2017.

    2. Markley, LA, Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. Recognizing Toxidromes From Digitally Accessed Illicit Drugs: New Challenges for Psychiatrists. Psychiatric Times. 2017 Apr;34(4). Available at: http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/substance-use-disorder/recognizing-toxidromes-digitally-accessed-illicit-drugs-new-challenges-psychiatrists. Accessed 9/1/2017.

    3. Crews, B. Synthetic Cannabinoids. Clinical Laboratory News. 2013 Feb. Available at: https://www.aacc.org/publications/cln/articles/2013/february/cannabinoids. Accessed 9/5/2017.

    4. Cooper, Z. Adverse Effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids: Management of Acute Toxicity and Withdrawal. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2016 May; 18(5): 52.

    5. National Institute on Drug Abuse. What is marijuana? Available at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana. Accessed 9/1/2017.

    6. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) drug profile. Available at: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/drug-profiles/kratom. Accessed 9/5/17.

    6. National Institute on Drug Abuse. What is kratom? Available at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/kratom. Accessed 9/1/2017.

    Read more from Dr. Schroeder-Swartz here

    Tracy Schroeder Swartz, OD, MS, FAAO
    Tracy Schroeder Swartz currently practices at Madison Eye Care Center in Madison, Alabama. She serves as Education Chair for the ...


    You must be signed in to leave a comment. Registering is fast and free!

    All comments must follow the ModernMedicine Network community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated. ModernMedicine reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part,in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

    • No comments available

    Optometry Times A/V