Although the U.S. is one of the most popular markets for illegal drugs, many other countries and regions have their own drug problems. During the last two decades a drug named yaba has become very popular in southeast Asia. Yaba is a methamphetamine and caffeine pill. Yaba means “crazy drug” in Thai and was previously used by truckers to stay awake during long drives. It is now illegal, although yaba is still being abused.
The University of Maryland’s Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) describes many different characteristics of yaba. It is sold in pill form and it can also be crushed and snorted or smoked. The side effects of yaba include euphoria, insomnia, aggression, increased heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and damage to the small blood vessels in the brain. Long term effects of yaba abuse include tremors, hypertension, hallucinations, psychosis, and mental confusion.
As yaba’s popularity has increased, so has its potency, according to an article from The Guardian. The pill has increased in potency from a concentration of 20% meth to about 90% for its crystalline form, called ‘ice’. Yaba abuse is becoming more widespread, despite its debilitating effects. Yaba is colored and flavored with chocolate and strawberry to mask its bitter taste, which makes it more appealing to children and young adults. The drug is even marketed to teenagers by drug dealers in India, Bangladesh and it’s even found in Isreal, according to a Huffington Post article by Amanda Scherker. However, police in Thailand have begun warning parents and educating people about the effects of this drug.
Every country has to find a way to combat drug manufacturers while also educating parents and their children about the dangers of drug use and abuse. Yaba is not as popular in Thailand as it was in years passed, however it is gaining popularity in other countries. Will it ever reach us in the USA? Only time will tell.