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“Digital Drugs” Spark Panic in the Middle East


Saudi Arabia is taking measures to curb a "scourge" of mind-altering Mp3 files. But can you really get high off an audio file?

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This diagram illustrates the mechanics behind this latest drug "scourge". Buzzle

How it works. Photo via

The latest panic-inducing drug trend involves no needles, powders or pills—but digital sound waves. And all you need to get “high” is a pair of headphones and an Mp3 player. Known as “i-Dosing,” these “drugs” are audio files that are easily shared online. And a few Middle Eastern countries are reportedly taking them extremely seriously.

Use of “digital drugs” was first reported in relatively cosmopolitan Lebanon, raising concerns down in Islam-fundamentalist Saudi Arabia, where various government agencies have held what they called urgent meetings to prevent these “sound drugs” from entering the desert sheikhdom’s airwaves. Abdullah Al-Sharif, secretary-general of the National Commission for Drug Control, says he hopes they will be able to “curb the spread of this scourge”

But can you actually get high from—and addicted to—an Mp3? Digital drugs are made up of “binaural beats,” which are the sensation of a third sound that is created by the integration of two signals. The phenomenon, which was first discovered by physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove in 1839, provides a auditory stimulation that can create a sense of disorientation, or a “high.”

Though the concept of using binaural beats as a “drug” has been around the West for a while, however, there are few cases of people reporting misuse or dependence on the sounds. (Just to be safe, those wishing to abstain from mind-altering substances should consult their doctor, higher power or other personal advisor before playing the audio file below.)

Substance source who tested the tune below reported that it produced little to no effect: “Though the pleasant radiator-like buzz filled my eardrums for a full 60 minutes, I can safely say that I in fact did not get high,” he said, adding that the greatest danger was being distracted at work.

Readers can test the “i-Dose” theory themselves by watching this video: