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Brown-brown is a form of powdered cocaine mixed with smokeless gunpowder (not "black powder"). Smokeless powder often contains nitroglycerin, a drug prescribed for heart conditions, which most likely causes vasodilation, permitting the cocaine to move more freely through the body. This, in turn, allows for a more intense high. The term may also refer to heroin.[1][2] Brown-brown is reportedly given to child soldiers in West African armed conflicts.[3] One former child soldier, Michel Chikwanine, has written about the experience of being captured at the age of five by rebel fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including being given brown-brown.[4]

In media and culture[edit]



  • In What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng (2006), 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" (more precisely, cope) with the horrendous violence they perpetrated.


Video games[edit]


According to "The Lowdown on Brown-Brown" by Brendan I. Koerner, the use of cocaine mixed with gunpowder may be less prevalent than reports indicate, as cocaine would be difficult to source during armed conflicts, especially in the African Continent. Brown pills that were referred to as cocaine were most likely amphetamine. The first actual documentation of the term "brown-brown" was a 2005 Norwegian NGO report that stated the term refers to heroin.[10]


  1. ^ FAFO (2005). "Alcohol and Drug Consumption in Post War Sierra Leone - An Exploration" (PDF). 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Ishmael Beah (January 14, 2007). "The Making, and Unmaking, of a Child Soldier". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved February 19, 2007. 
  4. ^ "'Child Soldier' author shares hard truths with young readers". Retrieved 2015-12-29. 
  5. ^ "Trigger Happy". Sydney Morning Herald. February 17, 2006. Retrieved February 19, 2007. 
  6. ^ "Liberia's Psychiatric Wasteland For Ex-Child Soldiers". Mail & Guardian Online. January 15, 2009. Retrieved February 29, 2012. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ 1000 Ways to Die: "Killing Them Softly (Blood Diamonds)". Spike. March 9, 2011. Retrieved November 27, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Killing Them Softly". 1000 Ways to Die (IMDb). 2011. 
  10. ^ Koernef, David I. (April 12, 2010). "The Lowdown on Brown-Brown".