Venom has another use, ravers in India discovered some years ago. It gets you high, they say. Four people were arrested near Mumbai in November 2013, the Indian press reported, for illegal possession of 1.7 litres of cobra venom, the equivalent to 400 doses from a single cobra or 40 from 10 snakes. A forestry official quoted in the story was quite sure what the contraband was for, “cobra venom is used as a drug in rave parties these days. It is converted into powered form...and then mixed with alcohol,” he said. In February 2014 another man was arrested under wildlife conservation laws in the same region. He had a litre of cobra toxin on him. Indeed the first reports of snake venom smuggling were coming from animal rights groups two or three years earlier.
Turned into powdered form for mixing with alcohol the designer drug known as K-72 or K-76 is reckoned to sell for $320 - $400 per pinch. The effect, they say, is a powerful high and a rush of energy. Is that a sensation that a bite victim would experience moments before his organs shut down for good? I don’t intend to find out, so I think I will try to stay clear of king cobras in genral.