A new drug trend reported in the Congo in September of 2021.

The word, “Bombe” loosely translates to “Powerful” in the Congolese local dialect Lingala.

The drug is a brown powder that isobtained from crushing the ceramic honeycomb core of automotive catalytic converters, the device that cuts the emission of toxic gases in vehicle exhaust pipes (catalytic converters, which are coated with metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium). The drug is usually mixed with vitamin pills and sleeping tablets. It is possible for it to be smoked with tobacco. The drug has also been mixed with ‘appetite-boosting’ tablets in Germany to prevent the users from forgetting to eat within the next two days.

It has been reported that it turns users into ‘zombies’ as the users are in a state of unconsciousness. It has a tendency to cause people to either sleep for days and/or stand without motion for hours. Additionally, there have been reports of people scratching their arms and crying and laughing without reason.

Within the last seven months, there have been  instances of the drug being used in England, Germany, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya.

  • A laboratory in Antwerp, Brussels is currently analyzing the effects of each component.
  • The National Police in Kinshasa have already conducted an initial chemical analysis of Bombe and found that it contains substances similar to:
  • There have been reported deaths from Bombe in The Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Bombe does not produce hallucinations, it merely creates a void and a feeling of indifference and enables them to forget their problems.
  • Youth gang members (Kulunas) have been known to consume Bombe prior to gang fights commencing due to the feeling of indifference that is produced and apparently some homeless people consume the drug so that they do not feel the col whilst sleeping outside.
  • One ‘trip’ is reported to only cost $1 in Kinshasa. Dealers’ typically receive $200 per kilo of the ground powder
  • Bombe apparently causes heart and lung problems and potentially linked with cancer in the long-term; however, I have not found additional information to support the claims.
  • Apparently, there have been many arrests of alleged ringleaders of the catalytic converter trade (Tunisian citizens)
  • A known withdrawal symptom is that the entire body begins to itch
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