Smoking Scorpion Venom
The dry and arid Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region – home to the mighty black scorpion – has emerged as the epicentre of a rare drug culture. People in Pakistan’s borderlands are no strangers to narcotics; the Soviet-Afghan war in the ‘80s made sure of that. But scorpion venom is a wildcard drug ripping through communities that no one knows what to do with. People who have smoked it say the high is powerful and can last for days. Its side effects, however, seem too heavy a cost to bear. VICE travelled across Peshawar, Mattani and Dir to speak to users, researchers, a former narcotics-control officer and a journalist to understand why people smoke scorpion venom and how it’s changed their lives.