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What is the ‘hangover’ drug that killed Russian tycoon

Used for “mystical experiences” or to become more focused, as reported by former boxer Mike Tyson, a type of frog venom is believed to be the most likely cause of the mysterious death of a Russian tycoon. The frog in question is the snort alvariusa Mexican amphibian that spends more than half the year living underground and releases psychoactive substances when active.

Russian tycoon Alexander Subbotin, 43, a former director of the oil company LukOil, was found dead on suspicion that he performed a ritual using frog venom to “cure a hangover” – an unusual use for the psychedelic drug.

The information was released yesterday by the Mash communication channel, but the date of Subbotin’s death was not detailed by the vehicle.

The drug

Toad venom is used in rituals and is the subject of studies by scientists, but it cannot be used indiscriminately.

The substance in question is 5-MeO-DMT, known as bufo and considered by many to be the most powerful hallucinogen on the planet. It contains DMT, an acronym for dimethyltryptamine, a well-known psychedelic present in ayahuasca.

The drug is touted as of potential interest for research into treatments for schizophrenia, depression and anxiety, but as with most psychedelics, it still needs broader study and is not used for patients in general.

Even though it is not freely used, there are those who make the use of this hallucinogen a ritual, as in the case of a sanctuary in Mexico called Bufo Alvarius Sanctuary. The venue’s owner, actor Fernando Carillo, says ceremonies with frog venom “can fix” individuals.

The case of the tycoon

According to Mash, billionaire Alexander Subbotin would have visited a shaman named Magua and his wife at the couple’s residence in Mytishchi, to undergo a healing ritual that he had previously gone through without major problems.

The ritual consisted of opening a small incision in the skin and adding frog poison to the spot to treat hangover symptoms.

“He came once more to treat his hangover. Suddenly, he started to feel bad, with a pain in his heart. The shaman decided that he would not call the ambulance, gave corvalol [uma espécie de sedativo] him and put the businessman to sleep in the basement”, said the communication channel. The Russian could not resist.

The bufo alvarius frog - Getty Images - Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

famous cases

Former wrestler Mike Tyson claims to have used the substance 53 times – three of them in the same day – and claims it has changed his life for the better.

However, the first time he used the hallucinogen, Tyson says he had a near-death experience.

tyson - Jesse Grant/Getty Images for The Exchange - Jesse Grant/Getty Images for The Exchange

Mike Tyson at an event in Santa Monica, California, November 2016

Image: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for The Exchange

“I ‘died’ during my first trip. But in my travels, I have seen that death is beautiful. Life and death must be beautiful, but death has a bad reputation. The frog taught me that I will not stay here. There’s an expiration date,” Tyson said in 2021 while speaking to “The Post at Wonderland,” a Miami conference devoted to psychedelics, microdosing and medicine.

In addition to Tyson, another case with the substance, more tragic, happened in 2020, when a porn actor was arrested for helping a photographer use the drug, and his friend died.

Pornographic film actor Ignacio Jordá González, better known as Nacho Vidal, was arrested in Spain in the investigation of the death of a photographer. Nacho and José Luis Abad would have participated in a mystical ritual in Enguera, in July 2019, which consisted of inhaling vapors of frog poison, according to the newspaper El Pais.

Abad died at the porn actor’s home after ingesting the hallucinogenic substance.

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