This is a naturally occurring drug which is extremely poisonous. It is a member of the alkaloid family of drugs and is a 'sympathetic cholinergic blocking agent'. It is found in the plant Belladona, and can be produced synthetically as well. It appears on the market in tablets which are white and imprinted with "HOPE" and "742". They are intended for oral use only, and each tablet contains 0.4 mg Atropine. It is also sold in an eye drop solution as well as an ointment.

Use of the drug increases heart rate by slowing down some parts of the nervous system while simultaneously speeding up other parts. It increases the rate of the heart by approximately 20 - 40 beats per minute. In poisonous doses, it causes paralysis, excitement and delirium. It has a half-life of 2 to 3 hours.

It has no action on the voluntary muscles, but the nerve endings in involuntary muscles are paralysed by large doses, the paralysis finally affecting the central nervous system. Atropine also enters the central nervous system (CNS) by crossing the blood-brain barrier. This central nervous system activity, which may be either stimulating or depressing depending on the dose, can cause hallucinations, excitement, delirium, sedation and even unconsciousness.

Atropine is used in several ways in medicine. It is used in eye surgery for the dilation of the pupil and is also used as an antidote to opium. It is also used as a pre-medication for anesthesia as well as to lessen pain and inflammation. It has anti-spasmodic activity and is used for asthma and whooping cough. It is also used to revive a hart attack victim, as well as an antidote to nerve gas poisoning.

It was allegedly used in witches brews in ancient European cultures, and enabled the consumer to 'fly'. It was applied by rubbing it on the pulse points on the hands and feet, as well as the genitalia.

The effects of up to 0.5 mg - Slight dryness of nose and mouth; 1 mg - Greater dryness of nose and mouth with thirst; slowing, then acceleration of heart; slight dilation of the pupils (mydriasis), 2 mg - Very dry mouth; tachycardia (elevated heart rate) with palpitations; mydriasis, slight blurring of near vision; flushed, dry skin. 5 mg - Increase in above symptoms plus disturbance of speech; difficulty in swallowing; headache; hot, dry skin; restlessness with asthenia. 10 mg and over - Above symptoms to extreme degree plus ataxia, excitement, disorientation, hallucinations, delirium, and coma.

Severe atropine poisoning may be treated by a trained doctor. Death from atropine poisoning is rare, and is usually due to internal paralysis.

Atropine has been found in pills sold as Ecstasy in Europe. Use should never be combined with other stimulants such as the Amphetamines (speed): the results could be fatal.


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