'Sisa', the drug of the poor

In 2010, at a moment when the financial crisis was reaching a fever pitch, the brand new drug ‘sisa’ appeared for the first time in Greece. It is the only drug that can be found exclusively in Greece and is produced under special circumstances. The drug can mainly be traced in central Athens. Sisa’s exact chemical nature is disputed and obscured. However, it is circulated in the drug market as a colourless crystalline substance and is believed to be consisted of methamphetamines and of the liquid coming from cars’ batteries. According to the Greek Focal Point findings, sisa is mostly smoked and sometimes injected. 14 user reports revealed that mainly immigrants coming from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and India, as well as heroin users and young drug users were the groups that made most use of sisa.

The greek newspaper ‘Kathimerini’ informs us that sisa is produced in illegal laboratories in Athens and is called the drug of the poor or the cocaine of the poor. The fact that it is made of ingredients found in the batteries of cars makes this drug particularly strange. Sisa is sold for 1 or 2 euros at the streets and drug circles, which affirms that it is particularly low cost, easy to use and justifiably called the ‘drug of the poor’ or the ‘drug of the crisis’.

The main side effects that seem to be associated with the use of sisa are mainly insomnia, hallucinations, anorexia, palpitations and anxiety, psychiatric and heart problems. According to the relevant article recently published in  ‘Kathimerini’, sisa is responsible for causing aggressive behaviour and increased sexuality to the user. This new and cheap drug is associated with the rapid increase in HIV rates-and this increase is attributed to the intense sexual attitude caused by the drug, which leads in the absence of the necessary precautions.  However, some other public health professionals tend to think that sisa is responsible for the expansion of the HIV rates among the IDU’S because they believe that the drug is mainly injected rather than smoked.

KETHEA, one of the biggest therapeutic communities for drug addicts in Greece, is currently running a direct intervention programme in the streets of Athens aiming to provide accommodation, food and a friendly environment to the sisa users that are found in the streets.

Some of them questioned by KETHEA described the symptoms of sisa as such: ‘You feel like your mind is totally escaping, you feel the urge to beat up people and steal’. Another user said: ‘You can’t sleep, you can’t eat and you keep talking all the time. ..It reduces the appetite. Five people committed suicide.’

It is interesting to see that between June and September of 2011, it was noted that 95,3 % out of 148 of the drug users who consulted KETHEA   were familiar with the drug ‘sisa’ , 68,5% made use of it and the dominant age group that used it was between 31 and 35 years old.

Martha Fosteri, the special assistant manager  of KETHEA, says that exactly as methadone is used as a substitute of heroine,  in the same way sisa seems to be used as the substitute of cocaine. She explains that the economic crisis influences the drug markets and forces drug users to resort to less expensive drugs and substitutes such as sisa. The outcomes of recession are misery, poverty and social stigmatization, factors that impact dramatically on the health of drug users.  She adds that the crisis makes the rehabilitation of young drug users more difficult because their families need to work ceaselessly and don’t have the luxury and the time to take part in the treatment programs of their children.

According to the article in ‘Kathimerini’ newspaper, the sisa users face serious health problems:  most of them are undernourished,  64% suffer from hepatitis C,  84% inject heroin, 17,7% of them have suicidal tendencies and 7,5% are homeless. The issue is about life and health and not about criminal behaviour, as many people still tend to think.

Main Source: http://news.kathimerini.gr/4dcgi/_w_articles_ell_2_08/04/2012_478530


Guys: The liquid in car batteries is an electrolyte solution of water and sulfuric acid. It doesn't have anything to do with "Sisa." Every indication from your article, every notable detail about it, indicates that this is just plain old meth. It is methamphetamines and it's bad for you and it's making people in Greece act cuckoo, but it does that everywhere. They just hadn't seen it before. There's nothing special about this and it's not a new drug.

Please do some basic chemistry research or consult a chemist when you write these stories so they can tell you that there'd be no possibility that mixing meth and car battery liquid would result in anything other than a wrecked batch of meth. Sulfuric acid is sometimes used in the manufacturing process but it reacts with other things etc (I don't need to be giving too many details, no desire to encourage people) - basically, it isn't something you get high off of, it isn't a component of some new drug, it is a very basic chemical found in most laboratories and used for various purposes.

Sisa = methamphetamines. The Greeks just haven't had prior experience with the stuff so they're a little confused is all. Don't add to that confusion.

Various caustic and toxic substances have been used to cut street drugs. I've heard of pot being soaked in formaldehyde, and "rat poison" (probably Strychnine) being mixed with various substances. So battery (sulfuric) acid wouldn't surprise me. Sometimes I think acids can accelerate absorption. And if the acid is actually from a battery, it likely has salts of lead, which while deadly, may impart some drug effect of it's own. After all, another metal, lithium was recently the craze in psychiatrist treatment.

My answer below was directed at you, of course

Regarding drug composition and purity "I heard" is as useless as horse manure. Give me the resuts of laboratory analyses or just shut up

The reason it wouldn't surprise you, is that you are an ignoramus who believe anything you read in the tabloids!

The pot being soaked in formaldehyde is an old joke. How would anybody be able to hold the smoke down? Not to mention the entire joint would most likely burn like a torch when lit.

If a dealer mixes his drugs with Strychnine, he loses his customers (they die). So of course it is an urban legend, yet a classic in low budget crime dramas.

They don't use the acid from a battery! They use battery acid! It doesn't have to physically reside in a battery to be battery acid! Do you perhaps think that it would be slightly uneconomical (and exhausting) for the criminals to keep lugging home filled batteries to empty them for the battery acid?!

And how exactly do you suggest they crystallize something when it has been mixed with sulfuric acid in excess of forming a salt? By magic?

And of course, lithium = metal, lead = metal, so bingo... Omg. That is some serious science right there!

And finally, acids don't accelerate absorption, they actually decrease it in the case of meth!

Looks like just about every sentence you wrote was completely misinformed.

"Sisa" is plain old impure Crystal Meth, maybe spiked, maybe not. It is the drug of choice of self destructive idiots with bad teeth, burned neurons that never live long. It arrived in Athens with the advent of Afghani and Pakistani immigrant legions and some crime lords and it has been a part of the scenery ever since.

The word comes from a Farsi (Persian) word, translated as "pipe" ("pipa" in Greek), due to the initial asian drug dealers that introduced it as such. This is the cause of the confusion that makes people think it is a new super drug, which is not really.

What is clearer now is that the only novelty about Sisa is the monodose single use pipes that were introduced into the market it and probably gave it its name. A marketing ploy for those who didn't know how to use it at first, the fresh corpses for Zombie Land, drafted from the armies of the apolitical, unemployed and indifferent youth.

It is not true that Greece hasn't encountered this dangerous drug before. Meth was the drug of choice for many gays and clubbers in the past in the country. It was always known as "meth" or "methi", a very dangerous drug by itself.

What makes this Sisa variant "new" and even more dangerous is not its composition, but other factors, like heavy marketing by the dealers, the lifestyle it introduces and the dangerous interaction with other drugs.

First of all, it has a very low price. 1.5 to 2 euros a dose helped it become an epidemic. This price means that it is probably subsidized by some powerful people, be it agents, jihadists, criminals, Balkan Mafiosi or the state itself.

Furthermore, other factors, such as the austerity policy and the social break down it creates, the extreme youth unemployment, the indifference by the part of the state and the police who seem to benefit by its existence on many levels, a lack of contemporary antidrug policy that limits itself to heroin abuse with Methadone and Bup programs.

Sisa is partly a creation of the large scale anti-heroin programs by OKANA and KETHEA. The advent of Bup a few years ago, being a great tool for fighting heroin addiction in the beginning, has been utilized by the drag lords to market Sisa ad an alternative. When Heroin didn't work anymore because of Bup, addicts turned to Sisa which remained undetected and unaddressed as a serious issue by the state for at least 2 years and even today! People kept going to OKANA programs, with Sisa dealers waiting outside to sell. Also these programs gave rise to a series of dangerous cocktails: Methadone obtained for free by governmental drug substitution programs and Sisa. Or Cocaine and Sisa, used by the more well off users. Or Sisa with Benzodiazepine.

However, the worse observed interaction in the user population is the cocktail that combines everything with Crystal Meth, aka Sisa. Methadone, Cocain, Bup, PCP, booze, Benzodiazepine and other medicine like sleeping pills. This is the real Sisa epidemic, which is more of a lifestyle choice than an actual drug. This lifestyle creates a new breed of sleepless super psychos, living in the streets on a constant manic state for days, that yearn to beat up people and steal staff and sometimes copulate like bunnies. It gave rise to a series of inter-family crimes and violence, for Sisa users don't take just Meth, but a lot of drugs, combined to lead to highs and lows and address redrawal symptoms. For this, they need a lot of money. And they take it everywhere they can, just like in the days of heroin. By beating up, stealing or killing for it.

So the Sisa epidemic is a very dangerous thing. It is a lifestyle that leads to misery, destruction, sorrow, financial ruin and death, both for the users and their families. Athens' Sisa Streets can only be compared to the Harlem Crack Houses that we used to see in the movies. The thing is that there is no escape for someone caught in the web of Sisa. No miracle cure. The fight against this drug must become total and its manufacturers should be dealt with very soon, or a whole generation could perish.

Couldn't you just make meth but necessarily take the time out to purify and recrystalize if necessary, so you would just have a lot reagents left over in your final product, so that is the reason you can make it so cheap and sell it for so little because of the economies of scale of your production.

I am surprised they just don't use a birch reduction and just go about a 1 pot shot.

very lucid. the crack epidem ics in brazil follows the same path.

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