Self-confessed WITCHES and African voodoo ‘specialists’ are caught charging vulnerable alcoholics £500 for deadly ‘addiction curing spells’
- MailOnline found African voodoo specialists on a website for freelancers
- One described themselves as a ‘very experienced’ and ‘professional’ spell-caster
- The Fiverr user offered a single cast for £199.65 or a premium service for £519.10
- Leading addiction experts slammed the listings on the Fiverr website
Self-confessed witches have been accused of fleecing vulnerable alcoholics out of hundreds of pounds by promising them they could be cured through a spell.
MailOnline found African voodoo specialists offering bogus remedies to alcoholics from around the world on a website for freelancers seeking work.
One described themselves as a ‘very experienced’ and ‘professional’ spell-caster, who could ‘bring results very fast’ to stop alcohol addiction.
The Fiverr user – an account called afrospells which had dozens of glittering reviews – offered alcoholics a ‘single cast’ for £199.65.
The Ugandan seller’s premium service, which promised customers three witches would deliver a super-strength spell, cost £519.10.
She claimed on her posting: ‘My late mother was a very powerful witch and taught me how to perform powerful African Magic spells.’
But leading addiction experts have slammed the listings, saying they were exploiting vulnerable patients desperate for a cure.
And they warned giving up alcohol cold-turkey can be deadly, adding ‘miracle cures don’t exist’ – despite false promises touted online.
The website on which the adverts were posted – Fiverr – removed the witch services after being alerted by MailOnline.
One Fiverr user – an account called afrospells with dozens of glittering reviews – offered alcoholics a ‘single cast’ for £199.65. The Ugandan person’s premium service, the promise of three witches delivering a super-strength spell, cost £519.10
Other spell-casters on the website promised they could ‘make all wishes come true’, turn you into a millionaire and get your ex back
MailOnline found another Fiverr user – shilohcyrus7 – who promised ‘supernatural spells to banish your troubles away’.
The US-based user charged just £3.99 for a single spell, alongside a claim it could help banish addictions to alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex and shopping.
They did, however, warn the spell is not a substitution for medical help. Shilohcyrus7 had 20 reviews, with all but one being five stars.
The user, who offered two other more expensive packages, told customers: ‘These spells really work because their supernaturally charged [sic].’
And she added the spells are ‘driven by the laws of creation, blessed by the master of fate and supported by sacred spirit guides’.
Other spell-casters on the website promised they could ‘make all wishes come true’, turn you into a millionaire and even get your ex back.
It is unclear how the spells are conducted, with some customers praising sellers for the ‘instructions’ being ‘simple and appreciated’.
Ian Hamilton, a senior lecturer in addiction at York University, told MailOnline he thought the alcoholism spells were ‘truly bizarre’.
Afrospells described themselves as a ‘very experienced’ and ‘professional’ spell-caster, who could ‘bring results very fast’
Afrospells said the spell would work within 30 days to ‘free you of the urge to drink’
He said: ‘These type of listings are clearly preying on people who are at their most desperate and falsely giving hope when they feel at their most pessimistic about being able to get out of their problematic relationship with alcohol.
‘What makes these websites attractive is people can interact with these “specialists” anonymously.
‘That’s likely to be seductive due to the stigma and shame many people with alcohol addiction experience.’
Mr Hamilton feared anonymity was being used as a selling point, warning that the posts were ‘exploiting this vulnerability in people with problems’.
He added: ‘The dangerous aspect to this is it encourages the individual to abruptly stop drinking, this can be life-threatening for some dependent drinkers.
MailOnline found another user – called shilohcyrus7 – who promised ‘supernatural spells to banish your troubles away’
The US-based Fiverr user charged just £3.99 for a single spell, which claimed to help anyone who is addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex and shopping
HOW CAN GIVING UP ALCOHOL ‘COLD TURKEY’ BE DEADLY?
Giving up alcohol abruptly can be life-threatening for dependent drinkers, according to an expert.
In a piece for The Conversation, Adam Taylor, from Lancaster University, says alcohol suppresses the production of some neurotransmitters.
He wrote: ‘After a while, the body adjusts to the continual presence of high amounts of alcohol by producing more of these neurotransmitters and their receptors.
‘When people who are dependent on alcohol suddenly quit drinking, there is a surge in neurotransmitters, way above what the body needs.
‘This surge explains many of the symptoms of sudden withdrawal, including sweating, racing heart, restlessness and feelings of anxiety.’
However, he added it can cause fatal arrhythmias and overstimulate vital organs, including the heart.
‘So potentially if the person hasn’t told anyone they are using this online approach to quitting they risk dying or severe fitting with no one around to help them.
‘The advice and evidence for people dependent on alcohol thinking about giving up is absolutely clear.
‘They [people with alcohol dependency issues] should only do this with medical help and supervision to reduce harming themselves further.’
Paul Spanjar, chief executive of Providence Project – a rehab clinic in Bournemouth, told MailOnline: ‘Miracle cures unfortunately don’t exist.
‘Alcoholism is a dangerous and progressive illness, and, as with any illness, we would always recommend getting professional advice and help.’
He warned ‘people can die’ if they quit alcohol abruptly, adding: ‘Alcohol is the most dangerous drug to stop if you are physically dependent.’
After being alerted to the ‘witch’ adverts, a Fiverr spokesperson said: ‘We have removed these services from the platform.’
They did, however, warn the spell is not a substitution for a doctor’s orders
Shilohcyrus7 had 20 reviews, with all but one being five stars
Alcohol dependency is when a person craves alcohol and will continue to drink it even if the consequences are obviously harming them.
Public Health England says 1.6million adults in England have some level of alcohol dependency. Figures suggest there are 15million patients in the US.
Alcoholism has damning effects on general long-term health, causing many forms of cancer, as well as liver and heart disease.
But the immediate dangers, including injuries, sickness or violent behaviour, can land people in hospital regularly, too.
People hooked to alcohol can suffer life-threatening withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit, including seizures.
Treatment depends on how severe the alcohol misuse is. Some are offered drugs, others recommended to attend self-help groups or speak to a therapist.
The NHS advises men and women to limit themselves to 14 units of alcohol a week, which is roughly the equivalent of six pints of beer or ten small glasses of wine.
DO YOU DRINK TOO MUCH ALCOHOL? THE 10 QUESTIONS THAT REVEAL YOUR RISK
One screening tool used widely by medical professionals is the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Tests). Developed in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, the 10-question test is considered to be the gold standard in helping to determine if someone has alcohol abuse problems.
The test has been reproduced here with permission from the WHO.
To complete it, answer each question and note down the corresponding score.
0-7: You are within the sensible drinking range and have a low risk of alcohol-related problems.
Over 8: Indicate harmful or hazardous drinking.
8-15: Medium level of risk. Drinking at your current level puts you at risk of developing problems with your health and life in general, such as work and relationships. Consider cutting down (see below for tips).
16-19: Higher risk of complications from alcohol. Cutting back on your own may be difficult at this level, as you may be dependent, so you may need professional help from your GP and/or a counsellor.
20 and over: Possible dependence. Your drinking is already causing you problems, and you could very well be dependent. You should definitely consider stopping gradually or at least reduce your drinking. You should seek professional help to ascertain the level of your dependence and the safest way to withdraw from alcohol.
Severe dependence may need medically assisted withdrawal, or detox, in a hospital or a specialist clinic. This is due to the likelihood of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms in the first 48 hours needing specialist treatment.
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