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Partying Hearty on Oxytocin in India

 Oxytocin is the new party drug in India, according to this story from the Times of India.

I've seen previous news stories about police seizing illegal oxytocin or counterfeit versions, and wondered if this was a mistranslation and they meant oxycontin, the pain reliever. And evidently farmers often inject cows with oxytocin to increase milk production, an effect noted by Kristen Uvnas Moberg, the Swedish researcher who was the first to understand this hormone/neurochemical's powerful effects on our moods and ability to bond.

The Times explains that kids inject the oxytocin.

According to a pharmacy expert, the drug induces a numb state of mind. "After a period of intense activity and enjoyment where the addicts are numb to pain, effect of the drug wears off and the users drop, literally. It leaves the addicts’ nervous system in a mess and the users need time to recover," he said.

I dunno about this numb state of mind. They may, rather, feel very calm and connected to each other, similar to the way people who take ecstasy at raves say they feel. (It's been shown that this drug causes a release of oxytocin in the brain of mice.) Oxytocin certainly does reduce sensitivity to pain, and the "mess" side effects have been seen in people who take ecstasy frequently.

The authorities may be overstating the negative effects, as they sometimes do. Nevertheless, I do NOT advocate using oxytocin recreationally. First, because it acts in so many ways to regulate the body, messing with the natural system could have unforeseen and not pretty consequences. Second, it's dangerous to inject anything into your body if you don't have sterile equipment and know what you're doing -- especially if you can't be sure of what you're injecting.


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