Brown-brown is a form of powdered cocaine mixed with smokeless gunpowder (not "black powder"). Smokeless powder often contains nitroglycerine, a drug prescribed for heart conditions, which most likely causes vasodilation, allowing the cocaine to move more freely through the body. This in turn allows for a more intense high. Also, it may refer to heroin. It was reportedly given to child soldiers in West African armed conflicts.
In media and culture
- Ishmael Beah describes using brown-brown and other drugs while he was a child soldier in Sierra Leone, in his memoir, A Long Way Gone.
- In Elmore Leonard's Road Dogs, Foley describes brown-brown as a "mixture of cocaine and gunpowder," which would make a person "turn numb and stay awake for days."
- In What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, by Dave Eggers, the protagonist makes frequent references to brown-brown, the process by which he and other child soldiers were forced to become addicted to it and other drugs, and how it eventually helped them "enjoy," but really cope with the horrendous violence they perpetrated.
- Use of the drug is depicted by Nicolas Cage's character, Yuri Orlov, in the 2005 film Lord of War.
- It is also portrayed being used by Liberian child soldiers during their preparations for a combat/assault mission in the 2008 French/Liberian film Johnny Mad Dog.
- In 1000 Ways to Die episode 4.5, titled "Killing Them Softly" (2011), Tomo, a Sierra Leonean warlord, dies after snorting brown-brown with diamond dust in it, which cut through the lining of his lungs breaching arteries and blood vessels.
- Brown brown is discussed in multiple episodes of the anime Shin Chan (dubbed by Funimation) throughout Season 3. Mitzi's sister Bitzi is addicted to the substance, spending $5000 on it in between episodes 63 and 64.
In video games
- In Metal Gear Solid 2, Jack reveals to Rose that he could taste gunpowder in the food given to him and his fellow child soldiers, noting the toluene that kept them under control.
According to "The Lowdown on Brown-Brown" by Brendan I. Koerner, brown-brown is most likely an urban myth. Reasons being that cocaine would be difficult to get during armed conflicts, especially in the African Continent. Brown pills that were referred to as cocaine were most likely amphetamine. The first actual report of brown-brown that uses the name brown-brown, is by a Norwegian NGO in 2005 and it states the term refers to heroin.
- FAFO (2005). "Alcohol and Drug Consumption in Post War Sierra Leone - An Exploration".
- Ishmael Beah (January 14, 2007). "The Making, and Unmaking, of a Child Soldier". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved February 19, 2007.
- What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng
- "Trigger Happy". Sydney Morning Herald. February 17, 2006. Retrieved February 19, 2007.
- "Liberia's Psychiatric Wasteland For Ex-Child Soldiers". Mail & Guardian Online. January 15, 2009. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
- 1000 Ways to Die: "Killing Them Softly (Blood Diamonds)". Spike. March 9, 2011. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
- "Killing Them Softly". 1000 Ways to Die (IMDb). 2011.