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VOA: Samashki Syringes Contained Strong Drugs

The vials and syringes found littering the streets of the Chechen village Samashki last week after the assault by Russian troops contained a powerful narcotic and an anti-shock tranquilizer, pharmacologists said, according to a Voice of America report.

Pharmacologists in Moscow identified the drugs as Promodol, a powerful narcotic, and Dimedrol, an anti-shock tranquilizer, according to VOA's Elizabeth Arrott, who showed them some of the syringes and vials she brought back from Samashki.

Combined with alcohol, the drugs result in extremely aggressive behavior, the pharmacologists told Arrott.

Villagers in Samashki have alleged that Russia's Interior Ministry troops were drunk and drugged when they carried out a brutal assault on the village last week, killing an estimated 250 people.

The Interior Ministry has denied its troops abused alcohol or drugs but said soldiers did carry medical first aid kits for individual use.

"Each soldier has a special kit for individual use with syringes and drugs, one of which is Dimedrol, a drug used for those wounded and in shock," an Interior Ministry spokesman said Thursday.

But villagers in Samashki told Arrott on Saturday that during the attack they saw healthy Russian troops using syringes to inject themselves.

"They say the soldiers' eyes looked crazed and that the troops reeked of alcohol," she reported.

Arrott, who visited the village Saturday, said villagers described troops on the rampage, throwing victims under tanks, dousing others with gasoline, and even stringing up children by their feet or necks.

Footage filmed by a local amateur cameraman showed the streets "littered, littered, littered with syringes and vials," Arrott said.

The consistency of the villagers' accounts and the sheer number of the syringes and vials found -- which is far more than could be accounted for by the known number of Russian casualties -- lends weight to the accusation of drug abuse, Arrott said in a VOA broadcast Wednesday.

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