facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Drug and Alcohol Treatment  Heroin

"Cocaine of the Poor" Plagues Greece

Economic disaster leads to rising use of a cheap, synthetic drug by the nation's homeless.

Image: 

"Sisa" is Greece's drug of choice in hard
times. Photo via

By Sarah Beller

05/16/13

| Share

A new documentary from Vice investigates "sisa," a cheap synthetic drug that is "destroying the lives of Athens' homeless people." Although little is known about the drug, it is rumored to be a cheap derivative of crystal meth cut with anything from shampoo or cooking salt to battery acid and engine oil. Charalampos Poulopoulos, director of KETHEA, a government-funded anti drug and rehabilitation organization, says Greece's economic crisis has exacerbated general drug use in the country, and led to sisa's emergence on the market. The nation currently has a 27% unemployment rate—58% for youth under 25. In a "perfect storm," the economic crisis has also led to a collapse of the health care system, leading to a deficit of treatment centers, methadone clinics and healthcare workers. Addicts who’ve been priced out of using heroin, crack, and crystal meth have increasingly turned to sisa, which costs as little as two euros a hit. The epidemic is only the latest example in a global trend toward synthetic street drugs, from the skin-eating krokodil in Siberia, to souped-up anti-AIDS meds in South Africa, and to the synthetic craze in North America and the UK.As with most drugs available to the poor, sisa comes with some nasty side effects, including “insomnia, delusions, heart attacks and aggressiveness,” says Poulopoulos. In the video, sisa users describe the drug's damaging effects. "I think it's the worst drug ever" says a man in the video, "You can kill someone and not even realize."

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
How I Forgave the Woman Who Helped My Son Die of an Overdose

She introduced him to the drug that eventually killed him. It took a long time, but eventually I had to treat her the way my son would have wanted.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious San Diego rehab has a program for you—if you can tear yourself away from “the most amazing massages ever."

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv