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Thai kids hooked on mad medicine
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  1. #1
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    shocked

    Thai kids hooked on mad medicine

    The New Zealand Herald
    1st February 2003
    By JAN McKIRK

    BANGKOK - Little pastel pastilles of Ya Ba don't look particularly dangerous. But the pink speed pills resembling baby aspirin now come infused with a whiff of vanilla or chocolate, and middle-class Thai schoolchildren find them hard to resist.

    In the past six years almost a million under-age methamphetamine addicts have kick-started a pernicious new drug trade inside Thailand. Four per cent of the country's 5-to-9-year-olds have started to experiment with or sell speed, a recent report said.

    Youngsters swallow Ya Ba tablets - literally "mad medicine" - after school and clamour for more. For a quicker rush, they crush them and smoke lines off foil.

    Hard-core users dissolve the tablets and inject them.

    Jittery young addicts suffering from psychosis, heart damage, memory loss or severe depression now crowd Bangkok hospitals and rehabilitation units. In some urban clinics, 40 per cent of the beds are occupied by patients suffering from the mental and physical side-effects of methamphetamine abuse.

    Several politicians have suggested that the Government sponsor methamphetamine shops to distribute cut-price Yaba and undermine the illicit trade, but this horrifies conservatives who prefer to execute dealers or jail the users in army-run treatment camps .

    Thai authorities seized 10 times as many Ya Ba pills last year as in 1996 - 83 million of them - but clandestine factories keep cranking them out in the lawless Golden Triangle where Burma, Thailand and Laos converge. There is also a big demand in China, right across the border.

    General Watanachai Chaimuanwong, the deputy army chief, blames the influx on narco-guerrillas of the Wa hill tribes' ethnic army, former headhunters who earned an estimated $550 million through drug trafficking this year and use the money to arm 10,000 insurgents in the northeastern hills.

    "These drugs are made in Burmese military camps," Watanachai said. "The Burmese Government gives the Wa self rule and uses them as soldiers."

    Analysts say that the Burmese Government condones the lucrative Ya Ba traffic because the junta gets a cut of the profits. It costs under 5c to produce a pill that sells for more than $1. Burmese officials vehemently deny the allegations of drug profiteering, but they admit that Ya Ba production is burgeoning in the border zones following a regional crackdown on poppy production that reduced heroin trade by 20 per cent this year. The Burmese belatedly launched an anti-speed campaign last month.

    Despite extremely stiff penalties against narcotics, including capital punishment for heroin smugglers, methamphetamine is widely available in Thailand. For years the odourless powder was the preferred stimulant for long-haul truck drivers and factory drudges, who relied on the drug to keep alert. You could buy it at most petrol stations.

    But now this cheap and convenient form of speed is replacing heroin as the mainstay of Southeast Asia's illicit drug industry. The arrest of 7000 Thai Ya Ba dealers has not stopped the flow.

    Drug traffickers of the Wa hill tribes subsidise the United Wa State Army, and have been unfazed by crop substitution programmes that eliminate a ready supply of opium poppies. Stepping up production of Ya Ba has kept the cash coming in, and there is no lack of eager customers.

    All the ingredients for Ya Ba are easily obtainable. Thai teenagers view it as a cheap form of Ecstasy which lets them dance the night away.

    "It costs less than a bottle of beer and the effect lasts from one to 10 hours," says Yngve Danling, a Bangkok-based adviser for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. "Adolescents see it as a harmless party drug. It's not."

    Ya Ba far outsells the E tablets imported from Europe for full-moon raves at Thailand's resort beaches.

    Southeast Asian gangs introduced Ya Ba tablets to the California clubs this summer, and Europe's rave scene is next in line. The old heroin-smuggling networks are well established and the price is right.

    An American Drug Enforcement Administration agent who has worked in Asia for a decade warns: "The opium war may be nothing compared to the Asian meth war."

  2. #2
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    About the speed problem, I think that if there's any problems with this, the source would be from society and just people in general. The thing is, when people do drugs, they're doing it because they don't have a something or someone that's good enough in their life to show them love and care. It's all about the people, especially family. The more love you get, the less chance you'll do drugs. Also, since some people do drugs just to stay awake, it's not their fault! They don't have other choice but to stay awake and work and so they have to take drugs to help them to work.

  3. #3
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    Gor Gai

    By the way that isn't me. Hehehehehe.

  4. #4
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    Figured...

  5. #5
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    panic

    Wow, I didn't know it spread to such young ages. It's crazy that they are making it like candy flavoured!

  6. #6
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    If you read the news nowadays, you can read about the "drug war" in Thailand and the amount of lives it has claimed within this short period. Truly terrifying.

  7. #7
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    When I read about the drug war and deaths involved, I guess the drug problem is pretty a much deep-rooted problem in the society. I do hope this issue get solved soon.
    Live your Life to the Fullest.
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    Wanna

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (Guest @ Feb. 12 2003,22:17)]About the speed problem, I think that if there's any problems with this, the source would be from society and just people in general. The thing is, when people do drugs, they're doing it because they don't have a something or someone that's good enough in their life to show them love and care. It's all about the people, especially family. The more love you get, the less chance you'll do drugs. Also, since some people do drugs just to stay awake, it's not their fault! They don't have other choice but to stay awake and work and so they have to take drugs to help them to work.
    This is a simplistic solution to a complicated problem. Drug abusers come from all walks of life. Rich, poor, educated, uneducated, laborers, top executives.
    The ideal solution would be to eliminate demand but, how to do this ?
    I believe the key is to educate our kids as early as possible the dangers of taking illicit drugs.
    Not only should parents talk to their children about it, the schools should have a drug awareness program in place.
    I hope young people reading this article think twice before ruining their life and bringing upheaval to their families by starting a miserable journey down the path of drug abuse.
    " The present is an outcome of the past which will have bearings on the future."
    Bhuddhadasa Bhikku 1906-1993

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