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Methamphetamine “Yaba” Use on the Rise in Thailand



Thailand’s Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin has acknowledged an large increase in the use of illegal drugs, especially the synthetic drugs Yaba in Thailand.

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board is ready to cooperate with partner authorities to curb the smuggling of ingredients needed for making methamphetamine, he said.

Speaking to delegates at this week’s Meeting of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies, Asia and the Pacific, he said Thailand was focusing on analyzing the shifting drug situation. Encouraging authorities to exchange information, and enhancing law enforcement over methamphetamine’s.

Somsak said Thailand has mainly been dealing with drugs produced in the Golden Triangle straddling its borders with Laos and Myanmar. Above all (Yaba) methamphetamine and ketamine, the curtailing of which is a matter of urgent government policy.

“We will urge anti-drug authorities to cooperate more on providing the countries affected with knowledge and strategic guidelines for controlling the production and transport of drugs and preventing and suppressing their abuse,” he told the Nation.

Thailand has garnered praise among Greater Mekong Subregion countries in its efforts to solve drug problems. Using an “alternative development model” under the Safe Mekong Operation Project.

Yaba, the ‘Madness Drug’

Yaba is a combination of methamphetamine and caffeine and comes in a pill form. In Thai, Yaba literally translates to ‘Crazy Medicine’. It is very popular in Southeast Asia and especially here in Thailand.

Yaba is becoming increasingly popular in other countries; such as, India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Japan, and United States. Yaba is popular with truck drivers, taxi drivers, and late night workers.

In the west, it is beginning to take a place in clubs and raves. This drug is very destructive and is highly addicting.

Signs of Yaba Use

Yaba is fairly cheap when compared to other drugs. However, when a person begins to use it on a regular basis, they may need more of the drug to get the same desired effects.

Money may begin to rapidly disappear out of the user’s bank account. The user may make up odd excuses to borrow money from friends or family. A user may begin to not pay their bills or even steal things to get money.


There is not too much paraphernalia that can be associated with Yaba use. The most preferred and frequent way to use the drug is by heating it on a piece of silver foil and inhaling the vapors as the pill evaporates. Many times the pieces of silver foil are from the silver lining of cigarette packs. If several pieces of foil are found alongside a lighter, it is a big warning sign that a person is using yaba. Glass pipes, plastic or glass bottles modified into a bong may also be used to smoke the drug. If the user does not smoke it, they may swallow the pill; in Laos the drug is commonly injected.

Physical Appearance

Yaba suppresses a user’s appetite. Therefore, users are often very thin. A person may have very bloodshot eyes, abnormally large veins, and changes in body temperature. A person who uses this drug may never seem to sleep. A yaba user may seem to have a burst of energy followed by an increase in activity. When the effects wear off, the user crashes and may seem very depressed. They may sleep for a very long period of time.

Behavioral Patterns

A sign to watch out for when a person is using, is the person frequently leaving for a few hours with an odd excuse. This is normally the time when they purchase more of the drug, and get high. Yaba users are also known to constantly lose track of the time. Above all they become completely undependable. A user of this drug may seem very anxious, confused, paranoid, or rapid changes in behavior.

Multiple Health Related Problems

Not only is Yaba addicting, but the use of the drug is also linked to multiple health related problems. If these warning signs are left unnoticed, a user may also end up in detrimental situations. Further more it can even cost them their own life. These signs can be related to many other problems that do not involve any kind of drug use. Before deciding that a person is using Yaba, one should find multiple signs of use.

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