Vaishali R Venkat

Man getting intoxicated to forget his sorrows in a temporary state of excitement and euphoria is nothing new. Also men in groups indulge in this habit to celebrate occasions. What are the primary routes to intoxication?

Liquor, created basically out of old grapes allowed to ferment for days, ganja and marijuana, plucked out of plants and dried up for days together, brown sugar, a sort of chemical substance, and certain drugs such as ketamine which, like tiletamine and phencyclidine, creates in its user a state of mind which is branded as ‘dissociative anesthesia’. Alchohol, narcotic substance and Ketamine are usually used. When the user feel the intoxication they have enjoyed over the years has become ineffective, they start thinking out of the box; thinking over unconventional and undreamt-of methods; i.e. a point has been reached where such men are finding alchohol, ketamine and other substances ineffective. The result is they are reaching out for something unusual and definitely dangerous – snake venom.

Hence, they have found certain species of snakes bite their index fingers and thereby, touching a new high. As the practice goes on for months, they reach a point where they have snakes bite their hands, lips and tongue too in the belief that their ‘floating sensation’ will endure longer. It is this practice that has taught them to differentiate between poisonous and non-venomous species. S. Arivudai Nambi, Director, ‘Wisdom Hospital’, says that he was stunned to find a group of four youths approaching him for rehabilitation when they told him that they were in the practice of injecting themselves with snake venom or having snakes bite them so that they could reach greater heights of self-sedation.Nambi, who has treated a few patients of the same kind and rehabilitated such people says, “Though it is not addictive, it gives them high and makes them feel different from other addicts, especially creating a state of well-being psychologically. Persons who have experienced are multiple addicts and they are only the hidden population.” The fringe groups who have such practice need proper medical attention by a general physician, a phychiatrist and they need cognitive therapy from psychologists. Some need the help of social workers who can counsel them. Regularly bitten by snakes, such people have poor eye sight over a period of time. A person with this habit will have liver dysfunction, nerve disorder, kidney failure serious skin diseases. “I am happy that I have rehabilitated a few patients who have been sobber for the past seven years,” says Nambi.

Amidst all this questions continue to be raised about the veracity of such claims. Snake venom leads to death. Is it possible to survive, sceptics ask. They keep asking whether it is a myth. How they do it? How long? Is it possible to be alive after such practice? Or is it mere a fantasy? Million dollar questions crop up their minds! One must not turn a deaf ear to such criticisms. Intoxication through a snake bite – is it true or not?

Serious ailments set in over a period of time

To be continued…. ,