July 25, 2024

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Methamphetamine Crisis: Myanmar’s Unchecked Surge Reaches Japan

Methamphetamine Crisis Spreads Across Borders: Myanmar’s Unchecked Surge Reaches Japan



Methamphetamine Crisis Spreads Across Borders: Myanmar’s Unchecked Surge Reaches Japan

Serious Methamphetamine Contamination in Myanmar – Spreads Despite Military Rule, Infiltrates Japan. 

In Myanmar, where the control of the military regime is faltering, the illicit production of drugs such as methamphetamine is rapidly expanding, particularly in areas dominated by ethnic armed groups, leading to a worsening contamination of the population. A tablet-type methamphetamine known as “Yaba” is circulating at 1,000 Kyat per tablet (approximately US$0.3 ) and is widely used across various demographics. It has also found its way into Japan and Australia through neighboring countries. Local investigations shed light on the situation.

In the largest city, Yangon, Chochole, a 34-year-old coffee shop owner, succumbed to the allure of Yaba at the suggestion of a friend, seeking a euphoric feeling of happiness. Obtaining the drug is surprisingly easy, as contact information for dealers circulates on social networking sites (SNS), and they even deliver to workplaces, homes, and schools by motorcycle. Some dealers offer discounts to first-time customers, selling five tablets for a thousand Kyat each.

The production hub in the northeastern Shan State, on the border with Laos and Thailand, is part of the “Golden Triangle,” known for opium poppy cultivation, a raw material for heroin, and hosts numerous production facilities for drugs like methamphetamine in addition to heroin factories and poppy fields controlled by ethnic minorities.

The situation is exacerbated by a lack of enforcement and oversight in what is described as an “unchecked state” since the military coup in February 2021, according to Tin Mountainein, who supports drug addicts in Shan State’s Chaume. The number of addicts has reportedly doubled or tripled, reaching a critical point after the simultaneous uprising of ethnic minorities in October 2023.

In Chaume, outside the city, addicts gather in cemeteries, indulging in drugs. Tin Mountainein visits the scene, attempting to persuade them to undergo treatment and rehabilitation, emphasizing the necessity for dialogue as the only way forward.

A representative of a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Taunggyi, Shan State, reveals that the military regime refuses permission for their activities to prevent civilian organizations from gaining influence.

Another executive from a support organization mentions the cessation of funds from international NGOs avoiding contact with the military regime, resulting in the suspension of their activities. Describing the current situation as the worst in the past 20 years, the official notes that drug users now approach 50% of the population in some regions.

The increase in the supply of Myanmar-produced methamphetamine is evident in the sharp decline in wholesale prices in neighboring Thailand. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the price per kilogram, an indicator of inter-organizational trade, was about $9,800 (approximately US$9,500) in 2020, but dropped to $5,900 in 2021 and further to $4,400 in 2022, less than half.

UNODC warns that East Asian countries, including Japan, continue to face a “rapid increase in drug supply.”

Methamphetamine Crisis Spreads Across Borders: Myanmar's Unchecked Surge Reaches Japan


What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, is a powerful and highly addictive central nervous system stimulant. It belongs to the amphetamine class of psychoactive drugs.
 
Methamphetamine increases the release of dopamine in the brain, leading to heightened energy, alertness, and a sense of euphoria.
 
It is illicitly produced and commonly abused as a recreational drug, but it also has limited medical uses, such as in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity.
 
However, due to its high potential for abuse and severe health risks, its medical use is highly restricted.
 
Methamphetamine abuse can result in serious physical and mental health issues, including addiction, cardiovascular problems, dental issues (often referred to as “meth mouth”), and cognitive impairments.

Is there any health impact if intaking Methamphetamine?

Yes, the use of methamphetamine can have severe and detrimental health impacts. Some of the notable health effects associated with methamphetamine use include:
  1. Addiction: Methamphetamine is highly addictive, and repeated use can lead to the development of tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Overcoming methamphetamine addiction can be challenging and often requires professional treatment.

  2. Cardiovascular Issues: Methamphetamine use can lead to increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and irregular heartbeats. This can result in a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular complications.

  3. Dental Problems: Chronic methamphetamine use is associated with significant dental issues, often referred to as “meth mouth.” This includes severe tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss.

  4. Cognitive Impairment: Prolonged use of methamphetamine can result in cognitive deficits, including memory loss, impaired attention, and difficulty with problem-solving. These cognitive impairments may persist even after cessation of use.

  5. Psychological Effects: Methamphetamine use can cause intense psychological effects, including anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and aggression. Long-term use may contribute to mental health disorders such as depression and psychosis.

  6. Weight Loss and Malnutrition: Methamphetamine is an appetite suppressant, and its use often leads to significant weight loss and nutritional deficiencies. This can have a cascading effect on overall health.

  7. Sleep Disturbances: Methamphetamine use disrupts normal sleep patterns, leading to insomnia and poor-quality sleep. Lack of adequate sleep can contribute to a range of health issues.

  8. Risk of Infection: Methamphetamine use is associated with risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex and needle-sharing among intravenous drug users, which can increase the risk of infections such as HIV and hepatitis.

  9. Overdose: Taking high doses of methamphetamine can result in overdose, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms of overdose may include elevated body temperature, rapid heart rate, seizures, and cardiac arrest.

It’s crucial for individuals struggling with methamphetamine use to seek professional help for treatment and support. The health effects of methamphetamine use can be severe and wide-ranging, impacting both physical and mental well-being.

Methamphetamine Crisis Spreads Across Borders: Myanmar’s Unchecked Surge Reaches Japan

References: https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/2f0f42b14ab0a7b40db82a1a58367fe1f9cf29c2

(source:internet, reference only)


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