Greece, a country plagued with economic troubles for the past several years, is now facing another threat caused by a new cheap synthetic drug called sisa. This substance has been especially detrimental to the homeless and impoverished people in Athens.
Sisa is believed to be a chemically enhanced form of crystal meth, although the complete list of ingredients remains unclear. The drug first appeared in Athens in 2010 and is manufactured in illegal labs. It was initially popular among immigrants from the Middle East and central Asia, but has since spread among native Greeks.
An extensive report in Vice magazine detailed the growing problem of cheap drugs in the age of austerity in Greece. Many addicts who have been priced out of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine are now abusing sisa which costs less than two euros a hit.
Charalampos Poulopoulos, director of a Greek anti-drug organization, told Vice that sisa has very severe side-effects including "insomnia, delusions, heart attacks, and aggressiveness." He continued, "It's often compared with cocaine, though it acts faster, and the effects last longer than coke. It's the drug of the streets, produced in home-based laboratories."
Sisa is just one example of the growing trend of cheap, mass-produced synthetic drugs. Like the bath salts and spice crazes in the United States, sisa may continue to grow in popularity because of price and little to no government regulation.
Although it has not yet been seen in the U.S., it may reach us soon.
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