Omer Bloch, an Israeli expat, recalls his Tinder date in Medellin, Colombia, in 2021. He remembers the woman as attractive and how they went back to his house for a beer after dinner. The drink, however, tasted somewhat different than normal. Following that, his memory goes blank, only to awaken the next day at noon, disoriented, and barely able to walk. The woman had stolen everything except for his laptop.
Sadly, the dangers of dating apps don’t end there in Medellin. According to the US Embassy, eight American men lost their lives recently, with many of these incidents involving dating apps. One victim, Asian-American comedian and activist Tou Ger Xiong, was kidnapped and later found dead with wounds from a blunt object.
Medical tests revealed that Bloch had ingested Scopolamine, known as Devil’s Breath. This odorless powder renders victims in a zombie-like state and can be deadly. It’s derived from the seeds of the nightshade plant, Brugmansia, which grows widely across Colombia. Slipped into drinks, the drug can cause sleepiness, amnesia, and health issues. In some cases, mixing it with alcohol can be fatal.
Medellin has transformed itself since the days of notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar. The city’s once-rampant drug violence has decreased, and it’s now a sought-after destination for tourists and expats. But as the number of visitors grows, so do violent deaths, according to human rights expert William Vivas. The city recorded an increase of 7% in the number of foreigner deaths in 2023. Moreover, a spike in prostitution has led to the targeting of so-called “sexpats” looking for casual encounters.
Ultimately, while Bloch agrees that some foreign visitors are disrespectful, he also points out that there are unfortunate consequences for the innocent.
Key Takeaways From Article
1. Exercise caution when using dating apps in unfamiliar cities. Research the safety reputation of the city and take extra precautions when meeting someone for the first time.
2. Be wary of accepting drinks from strangers or individuals you do not know well. This can help prevent the risk of being drugged or incapacitated.
3. Stay vigilant and trust your instincts. If something feels off or suspicious, remove yourself from the situation.
4. Inform a trusted friend or family member about your plans and share your location with them when meeting someone new.
5. Avoid carrying excessive valuables with you on dates or when exploring unfamiliar areas. Keep important documents and belongings secured in a safe place.
6. Familiarize yourself with local emergency services and contact information for your embassy or consulate in case of an emergency.