Oxi: New Drug Terrifies Brazil

By Patricia Maresch, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – It looks like crack, but it is much cheaper, four times more lethal and called “oxi” or “oxidado” (rust). It’s a cocaine derivative, just like crack, but it contains kerosene or gasoline, acetone, battery fluid and other chemicals. The highly addictive drug is smoked, but there are also cases of oxi being grounded up in cigarettes or snorted as powder, and has been showing up in Brazil in alarming rates.

Oxi stones, photo courtesy blog agricolandia

Oxi rocks, photo courtesy of agricolandia.

Oxi is known as ‘the drug of death’ because it’s extremely harmful to the body and addictive right after the first try. “You use oxi once, and you want to use it two, five, ten, twenty times,” a 25-year-old oxi-addict told Brazilian TV.

Users take on a yellowish skin color, lose weight very quickly and develop liver problems. They start to look like emaciated living corpses in just a few weeks time. The drug causes stomach aches, vomiting and constant diarrhea, but perhaps the most alarming fact is that most users die within a year.

Oxi was first spotted in Brazil in 2004 in border city Rio Branco, in the Amazon state Acre. The drug was smuggled into the country via neighboring Bolivia and Peru. Users were mostly poor, jobless people between the ages of 18 and 35.

From Acre, the drug spread to other states in Brazil’s north and has caused numerous deaths already in the northern states of Goiana, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brasilia as well as some states in the Northeast.

In the state of Piauí, for instance, eighteen oxi addicts have died since January this year. Now, experts warn, oxi is coming to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro which causes even greater concern with national authorities and public opinion.

Cracolândia in São Paulo, photo by Milton Jung CBNSP Flickr/Creative Commons License.

Cracolândia in São Paulo, photo by Milton Jung CBNSP/Flickr Creative Commons License.

The police say that oxi is already being sold in São Paulo, especially in an area in the city’s center known as “Cracolândia” where hundreds of homeless crack addicts reside.

There have been reports that street dealers are selling small crack-like stones for R$2 (US$ 1.20) in stead of the regular street value of crack of R$10 (US$6.30). Experts fear it’s only a matter of time before oxi hits the streets of Rio.

The effect of oxi is very fast, the drug reaches the brain within seconds, which makes the addict instantly want to consume more and more. It’s an overwhelming reaction. “You feel compelled to take it day and night, life or death don’t matter, just oxi,” said a 17-year-old user in recovery. “It absorbs your whole life.”

The Brazilian government is stepping into action: small-time street dealers are being arrested and makeshift laboratories in Brazil are tracked down and dismantled. There are also social health programs being developed. The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation is planning to set up an assistance program in Rio and wants to map the use of oxi in the country.

45 Responses to "Oxi: New Drug Terrifies Brazil"

  1. Pingback: Oxi is Wicked Whack | The Rio Times

  2. geraldine denise kuss  April 27, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    Good article , congratulations. Small spelling mistake. People LOSE weight, NOT loose….

  3. Diego  April 27, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    I wonder if / when speed (methamphetamine) reaches Brazil. Hopefully never…

  4. William  April 27, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    Trust Brazil to make a more dangerous yet cheaper version of crack – at the same time journalists – it’s lose, not loose

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  6. lumi  May 9, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    There is only one difference between “lose” and “loose”, both are correct, loose is britain english while lose is american english so get your facts right before correcting others. to my own opinion, it is better to use loose and not lose. why do you use “choose” and not “chose”?

  7. lumi  May 9, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    There is only one difference between “lose” and “loose”, both are correct, loose is british english while lose is american english so get your facts right before correcting others. to my own opinion, it is better to use loose and not lose. why do you use “choose” and not “chose”?

  8. Lucas  May 11, 2011 at 7:54 AM

    It wasn’t created in Brazil…atleast that what it says in the article, if u can read it says it came from Bolivia and Peru

  9. Dan  May 12, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    Lumi….hate to be a stickler, but I find no reference anywhere to the word “loose” being used in British English as a verb. I teach english for a living, so if you could back up your statement I would appreciate it.

    Check the McMillan dictionary online….
    http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/loose

  10. Mike  May 14, 2011 at 7:35 AM

    There is an enormous difference between “loose” and “lose”.

    Loose is the opposite of tight.
    Lose is the bare infinitive of lost.

    So,Lumi,get your facts straight…..

    And another thing,chose is the past of choose.

  11. norm gray  May 17, 2011 at 4:16 AM

    does it really matter how you spell it..it’s a losing proposition all way around ..everyone loses..not just the addict, but they’re family friends..Does it really matter where it came from..it came from the planet and created by people who are out to make a profit off of other people’s misery…very sad indeed..and when this drug arrives in your town, you may not be so quick to judge those “addicts” as they may be someone you know, perhaps your son or daughter, or friend, who fell victim to the drug..we need to be compassionate to those who are suffering and vigilant to those who sell this stuff to our children..The power of love can move mountains..If the people of Cairo can topple a government..then we as people can get this drug off our streets…anything is possible if we believe!!!

  12. Kevin Williams  May 17, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Only a “loser” would read this article and point out a trivial spelling mistake…

  13. Paul Williams  May 17, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Lumi
    It seems you have a poor understanding of the English language whether it is American or English English.
    Another drug type to decimate the young of the world. Who is making money from this?

  14. Steven Matherly  May 18, 2011 at 7:49 AM

    My main concern when reading this article is that fear of this “new drug” will be an excuse to redouble repression against poor people. The article itself says “Users were mostly poor, jobless people between the ages of 18 and 35″. While purporting to be concerned about the health risks of this drug the tone of the article is one of fear mongering about those bad poor folks. The tone is one of such fear and panic that it will be used to whip up repression against these drug users before they infect the rest of society. This fear will be used to justify ramping up the drug war to higher extremes. There is a small part at the end that talks about giving help to the addicts but the overall tone of the article is one of panic and fear and that really worries me.

  15. Pingback: New Drug Terrifies Brazil | Solutions Recovery

  16. R Sanchez  May 18, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    It is just cocaine, so it has more crap in it since the US won’t send the cleaner chemicals to make it anymore. Coke is coke, no matter how impure, and it has the same effect, ruins your life.

  17. Josh  May 18, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    If it’s the same thing they call ‘Paco’ in Argentina, it’s already taken over Buenos Aires. 75 cents a hit for a 5 second high. It’s like cracked out crack.

  18. mikedjb  May 19, 2011 at 5:54 AM

    @R Sanchez
    I think it is just a little stronger and more dangerous than JUST COKE!
    Did you read the article?!?!??
    It turns you into a zombie immediately,you die within a year,I never heard of JUST COKE doing that,sorry.

  19. lumi  May 19, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    OMG !!!, this is really serious people.

  20. Dan C  May 19, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    This article seems over-blown; I’m sure there is a more objective point of view to be voiced here. Actually, this is marketing genius! These drug lords in brazil are the only businessmen who figured out how to make money off of the guy who only has $1.30 in his pocket. That may not seem like a lot of money, but consider that there are billions of people who only have a dollar in their pocket, but only a few who have thousands of dollars. It’s an untapped goldmine, man! Still, that’s terrible that they figured out how to make a cheaper form of crack that can be marketed to the impoverished masses in the undeveloped world. We should all donate resources to help these people afford decent cocaine and not some tweak rock that rots your teeth out and turns you into a zombie.

  21. João  May 27, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    It is just cocaine, so it has more crap in it since the US won’t send the cleaner chemicals to make it anymore. Coke is coke, no matter how impure, and it has the same effect, ruins your life.

    Coke is coke, but crack/oxi are even worse because they are smoked. Crack is already six times as powerful as cocaine. Cocaine is absorbed by the nose blood vessels. Crack is smoked, thus it reaches the lungs and falls right into the blood stream much faster (and much more is absorbed). Oxi is even more powerful and more destructive than Crack because of it uses even more toxic and corrosive materials (such as gasoline!) and also because it’s more concentrated. Plus, it’s much, much cheaper.

  22. RT Duhanov  May 28, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    there was a story on al jazeera about a similar drug in south africa http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmlI-uZeCZw

  23. Mike  May 30, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    A perfect way to curb human overpopulation

  24. Gertjan  May 31, 2011 at 3:33 AM

    Sad to see all these cynical or spelling related comments when it is such a deadly and society-devastating drug. Seems to me like this can turn out into a much more serious problem than all other drugs combined. Even those people that fall for it deserve help and understanding – remember it is addictive after only one try, everybody can have a lapse like this…

  25. paulo cruz  June 1, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    i live here in the brazil, oxicado is a really bad drug, it has infected many folks not only the poor, to see those results you can visit the place of death, before they are buried.

  26. peter  June 1, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    I don’t believe that people are more worried over the spelling of a word when there is a much more important issue at hand which is the destuction of a human being through the use of a drug known as OXI, People get real…Whats more important.. A word or a life….This drug is not yet in NewZealand ,, I wanna keep it that way…..

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  30. Irene  June 10, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    Unbelievably scary… it’s a drug with short-term financial gain for the dealers…they are literally killing their uses, much like how cancer kills its host. If this drug gets a toe-hold on to North America and/or Europe…the results will be devastating. It is also unfortunate that some of the comments to this alarming article are mostly focused on the terminology used to inform us of this deadly new drug. I fail to see the significance of the spelling of words when the reality is there will be fewer people on this planet who will give a damn whether or not we spelled the word lose with two o’s. Shame.

  31. Sasha  June 10, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    This is not good news, its very cheap in price and much worse then most other drugs for your body.

    I really hope this Oxi craze passes soon, its goign to kill alot of people.

    Anyways, sending love from Canada to wonderful Brasil (:

  32. Charylene  June 23, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    This is a sign that the end of times is drawing near. Kids in the United States are already dieing of herion, xanax, oxycotto overdoses. My 22 year old son is an addict and he has lost three friends to those drugs. This is even a worse kind of drug because anyone could make it because the stuff is easly available and legal.

  33. Jim  June 23, 2011 at 3:07 AM

    How can we go about introducing this drug in the inner cities of America?

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  38. jinxed  August 9, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    My sisters best friend just died from this shit! 20 years old didnt know what he was taking and mixed it with his normal medication and never woke up again. Looks like this crap has hit Australian shores. The youth need to be educated on what they are taking im so sad, warning to anyone curious this stuff is BAD NEWS DO NOT TRY IT!!!!

  39. Pingback: Rio Seeks R$4 Billion to Fight Against Crack Addiction: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

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  41. Pingback: Emerging Drug of Abuse: OXI | StigmaBot

  42. Pingback: Brazil Second Only to U.S. in Cocaine and Crack Use: Daily Update | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  43. peterpotpusher  February 3, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    This is so sad, Only jesus. and the holy spirit can heal the victoms of this drug.

  44. Payne  December 3, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    I am sorry, but I don’t feel sorry for these people, if they really needed to take something off there mind, maybe a job would help. Not go smoke something and die so I don’t haft to see tomorrow. But its there life..

  45. LatAm  March 8, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    Society will always have addicts and many will fall through the cracks no matter what. It is sad but that is life. This will happen whether drugs or legal or illegal. Drugs should be legalized and taxed to reduce the tremendous waste of resources devoted to the drug war. Instead, a small fraction of these resources can go toward developing a legalized distribution system, better education, research and rehabilitating addicts to get them to be productive members of society.

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