Lanca-perfume is inhaled from “poppers” and contains ethyl chloride, giving the user a brief but intense “rush.” this drug is widely used and accepted in Brazil and it is expected will make its way to the U.S. as well.
Just as the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil tries to clean up its many slum areas in time to host the 2012 United Nations talks, the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, the exotic city blasted into world-wide news when a November 28th military and police raid netted drugs and arms worth almost $60 million. The U.S. media reported the seizure of machine guns, marijuana and cocaine, but left out one of the more interesting seizures: lanca-perfume (pronounced lahn-sah pear-foo-mee). The web site Time.com reported that police seized more than 1,400 flasks of the odd new drug in Rio’s slums.
Never heard of it? Neither have most other Americans. Lanca-perfume is inhaled from “poppers” and contains ethyl chloride, giving the user a brief but intense “rush.” The flasks also contain a perfume, giving the drug its name. At one time ethyl chloride was used as an anesthetic in Brazil but fell from use when it was shown to cause a dangerous disruption of the heart rate. A 2010 article in Emergency Medicine also cited concerns about the drug’s involvement in loss of motor function, tremors, dizziness, slurred speech, loss of feeling in the legs, drowsiness and hallucinations.
These incredibly dangerous side effects don’t seem to faze Rio’s preparations for March’s annual Carnival celebration; in fact, lanca-perfume is a inhalant tradition for partygoers! There’s even a popular song about the drug, and streets become littered with the tell-tale thin metal capsules during Carnival.
Will lanca-perfume make it to U.S. shores? Probably, say Brazilian and American drug agents. Even after the huge November seizure, Brazilian police say that this was merely a tiny lull in the drug’s production. Recent reports from Rio indicate that two gallons of lanca-perfume was seized in a raid on a notorious slum’s drug lab in Sao Palo. Thus, it appears that lanca-perfume is taking its show on the road, and it’s only a matter of time before it hits American shores.
What’s the allure of this drug-perfume combo? Americans tend to have a fascination with anything exotic, especially if it’s imported from an equally exotic location like Rio de Janeiro. Hashish from Turkey and opium from Middle Eastern locales are prime examples – much preferred over home-grown cannabis and stolen OxyContin. Drug abusers who favor inhalants can find cheap, easily obtained poppers of amyl nitrate on U.S. streets. But lanca-perfume not only has that “imported” allure for those seeking a brief rush – it even smells great. What a bargain for your buck! Never mind the little problems of potential death from heart failure or stumbling around drooling and hallucinating; if it’s new, cheap and exotic, “let’s huff it!”
For those visiting Rio in the upcoming few years, lanca-perfume will be everywhere. Right out in the open on the streets during Carnival and also in the grandstands during some of the world’s most heavily attended sporting events. From there, the drug can easily make its way to the Mexican drug cartels and then onto the streets of Los Angeles. And from there, into the hands of school-age children all over the nation.
Another potentially deadly inhalant – just exactly what America’s drug enforcement officers don’t need.
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