Party drugs that kill

By chillinwill · Nov 23, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    Party drugs are fast reshaping the trend of drug abuse in the country, spreading aggressively to reach suburban schools and children as young as 11.

    These drugs, covering a wide range of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and ketamine, are overtaking conventional opiate-based options due to their easy availability and a common misconception that they do not cause withdrawal symptoms.

    Private drug rehabilitation centres reveal that almost 80% of their newcomers are users of such party drugs, also called synthetic or designer drugs.

    Social workers describe the centres as psychiatric institutions because the inmates, many in their teens or 20s, struggle with brain damage and other detrimental side-effects.

    New cases involving party drugs recorded a five-fold increase in the past eight years while heroin showed almost no increase, according to Dr Mahmud Mazlan, who runs seven clinics specialising in drug treatment.

    The users are getting younger, too. Dr Mahmud said the patients were mostly in their early 20s in 2007, while in 2008, many of them were in their late teens.

    However, this year, he has received patients as young as 12 and 15. Some social workers have even been approached by parents of users who were only 11.

    "It has touched the younger and more vulnerable group. I have already received cases from semi-urban schools.

    "Runners and pushers let the kids try the drugs for free for two weeks, and when they are hooked, the kids steal, extort or push the drugs to their friends to get their fix.

    "Girls, sadly, often even offer sex for it," Dr Mahmud said when interviewed at his clinic in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur.

    He also has another clinic in Kuala Lumpur and others in Muar, Malacca, Seremban, Klang and Ipoh.

    "The number of new synthetic drug users admitted into my clinics has doubled every year since the opening of my first clinic in 2001," said the doctor, who is working with Yale University on research pertaining to substance abuse.

    Currently, his clinics have about 200 methamphetamine patients, compared to only two in 2001. Additionally, there are 40 ketamine-dependent patients in the clinics now.

    "It has become an epidemic in South-East Asia and the United States, as well as in Malaysia. About 80% of ATS users are in Kuala Lumpur, followed by Penang and Johor," he added.

    According to him, methamphetamine crystals (street names: syabu, ice) and tablets (WY, Pil Kuda, Yaba) have been available in the country since 1997, while ketamine was brought into the country around 2003.

    The popularity of these drugs increased drastically about two years ago as the police urine test then could not detect their presence. Liquid Ecstasy, another designer drug whose use is spreading fast, can also deceive urine tests.

    Dr Mahmud's study of 704 drug users in Malaysia between December 2006, and March 2009, showed that the sharp increase in party drug abuse would soon overtake the opiate-based options (refer graph on page 4). He said another focus group study concluded that several myths have also contributed to the swing in trends.

    The myth about methamphetamine is that it is not addictive, while the opposite is true. Another misconception is that it helps one perform better - that it can help students concentrate, drivers stay alert or enhance sexual performance.

    "However, the fact is that the drug makes one awkwardly confident. When the drug's effects fade after two to three days, the person becomes less than what he was. After one year, when dependency develops, they cannot perform at all without the drug, and become emotionally down or just live like zombies," he said.

    The third myth is that methamphetamine does not cause withdrawal symptoms but the fact is that these occur two weeks after stopping its use.

    "On top of all that, methamphetamine is easy to make even for someone who does not possess a degree in chemistry. Two of my patients tried their hands at it, but unfortunately, the concoction exploded and almost burned their face," he said.

    He said although more people were suffering as a result of party drug abuse each year, there were only a handful of local physicians trained in this field, while the facilities and resources needed were expensive.

    Dr Mahmud has set up a foundation to help stop the spread and regularly disseminates relevant information through his website

    Statistics on new addicts compiled by the National Anti-Drug Agency has also shown a steady expansion of the categories under ATS (refer table above), from 16.71% in 2007 to 24.26% in 2008 and 25.83% between January and September this year.

    Not all party drug users show signs of addiction, thus, the number of actual users is much higher.

    Agency assistant director-general (operations) Prof Dr Mahmood Nazar Mohammed said its Narcotics Treatment Centres (Puspen) in border towns have shown a sharp increase in ATS abusers.

    The supply of such party drugs in Kelantan and Kedah comes from Thailand, he said, adding that all inmates in Sabah were ATS abusers.

    "From our observation, it is mainly due to the drop in the availability of opiate-based drugs, as well as a drop in the number of abusers in these categories due to the effectiveness of methadone replacement and suboxona programmes," he said recently.

    He said the agency would begin a pilot programme by the year-end to treat synthetic drug abusers, and has plans to establish a centre to solely treat ATS abusers, with the Health Ministry supplying psychiatric services.

    He also said it was untrue that Puspen did not accept ATS abusers because of a lack of expertise and manpower.

    "Most users do not carry signs of addition, and for addicts to be charged under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 that sends them to our rehabilitation centres, they have to be certified by medical practitioners.

    "Still, a total of 150 drug users, including those charged under Sect 15(1)(A) of the Act, are in our community rehabilitative Matrix programme being carried out in Kelantan, Papar and Muar. We have recorded a 73% compliance rate of those who have been charged," he said.

    Asked if current laws were an effective deterrent, he said the Act served as an instrument for early intervention, where the agency could advise abusers to stop.

    Section 15(1)(A) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 covers any person who consumes or administers to himself any dangerous drugs. If convicted, they can be fined a maximum of RM5,000 or jailed up to two years.

    Meanwhile, Dr Mahmud said family vigilance was the only option to prevent drug abuse.

    "Having a child who consumes or abuses drug does not mean bad parenting," he said.

    "I have very humble and admirable parents sending their children to me, including high-ranking elected representatives."

    He advised parents to be wary of the early signs of abuse - abnormal sleep cycle, appetite and weight loss, asking for money, acting overly friendly or, in the more advanced stage, becoming verbally abusive.

    He said parents should also look out for sachets containing a salt-like substance, or "bonk", an apparatus to snort syabu.

    November 23, 2009
    Asia One

    Share This Article


  1. Combination
    Holy shit... this article sucks so hard. :( "Liquid Ecstasy" ? GHB ? :S
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    this was originally published in the Malaysian paper, which published a rash of such propaganda, err, news today:

    Types of party drugs

    Methamphetamine (Syabu, Ice, Yaba, WY, Pil Kuda) is a type of amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS), which also covers amphetamine (Bennies, Benz), Ecstasy, cocaine (Coke, Snow, Blow, Toot) and crack (Base, Sugar Block, Roxanne). ATS is a synthetic drug, produced through chemical reactions, it acts on the central nervous system.

    Users feel “awkwardly confident” and bold, and this also makes them aggressive. They usually experience sleeping difficulty, staying awake for up to eight days.

    The detrimental effects of methamphetamine:

    ● It affects various sides of the brain instead of being receptor-specific like conventional drugs. It makes the user more violent, aggressive and will in the long run cause brain damage, 60% of which is irreversible.

    ● It is highly acidic and can destroy the walls of blood vessels or cause internal vessel rupture.

    ● It affects the cardiovascular system, leading to heart attack or stroke.

    ● It leads to mental disorder. More than 40% of those taking methamphetamines suffer from mental disorder after two years.

    ● It causes psychotic symptoms including paranoia and hallucination, among others, that often lead to suicide.

    Ketamine is an anaesthetic for horses, legally manufactured in India in liquid form, but the powder form is abused as a party drug. Low doses give users a drunk-like effect while a high dose induces an “out of the world”, dream-like or floating sensation. The drug numbs the users and their thinking, and hence, is widely used as a rape drug.

    Only a certain percentage of users develop dependency, but even those not addicted to it will experience the following effects:

    ● Severe epigastric pain.

    ● Urinary incontinence (passing urine every five minutes), urinary track infection, kidney failure.

    ● Pronounced damage to the cerebella (back of brain) and brain stem (the part of brain that controls our stomach and urinary bladder movement).

    Erimin 5 (Five-chai, Happy 5) or Nimetazepam, which belongs to the benzodiazepine group of drugs, is an anti-anxiety, sleeping tablet that has the properties of amphetamine. It is highly abusive, hence the benzodiazepine was added to the Malaysian Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 in May, 2001.

    Designer drugs that can kill catching on among the young

    PETALING JAYA: Designer drugs like methamphetamine and Ecstasy are becoming the drug of choice for abusers, who are getting younger, with some hardly in their teens.

    These “party” drugs are becoming more popular than opiate-based drugs as they are more easily available ‑ being concocted locally - and hard to trace through standard police urine tests. There is also the misconception that such drugs are not addictive.

    ● Many of these drugs, in pill form, are heavily contaminated, some even with rat poison.

    ● According to private drug rehabilitation centres, almost 80% of their new inmates are users of such drugs.

    ● Many of those in rehabilitation are in their teens or 20s and suffer from brain damage and other side effects.

    ● The National Anti-Drug Agency will begin a pilot programme by the year’s end to specifically treat synthetic drug abusers.

    Designed to lure, laced with poison

    PETALING JAYA: Locally-produced party drugs are not only cheaper and more easily available but they also come mixed with a host of other harmful ingredients.

    The drugs, produced by syndicates at clandestine laboratories or secret locations such as apartment units, can even contain rat poison, said Kuala Lumpur’s Narcotics Department chief Asst Comm Kang Chez Chiang.

    He said Ecstasy tablets, originally imported from Europe, used to cost RM80 each, but many were seized in crackdowns from 2004.

    Local syndicates were using imported tablets to make cheaper versions, at about RM100 for a pack of three.


    “They smash the pure Ecstasy tablet into powder, mix it with all sorts of ingredients and press them into various shapes and sizes with a legally available pill-making machine or simply a self-assembled one.

    “A single pure Ecstasy tablet can be made into three to four pills with a mixture of all kinds of things – ketamine, caffeine, aluminium, chloride, gypsum, red phosphorous and even rat poison – just to make the quantity.

    “Some add chunks of food seasoning so that users will become thirsty, and order more drinks from the entertainment outlet.

    “The kids have no idea what they are taking when they pop the pill,” ACP Kang said during an interview at city police headquarters.

    He said police had found that over the past four years, most Ecstasy users consumed only the locally-made and heavily-contaminated tablets.

    “They have their own logos, colours and concoctions, hence, they are also called designer drugs as they are designed by some people at their free will,” he said.

    ACP Kang added that it was not surprising to hear that youngsters were being coaxed into becoming guinea pigs to test the “power” of these pills, especially through peer pressure.


    “It all starts with them thinking, ‘What’s wrong with taking just one?’, not realising that all hell breaks loose after that,” he said.

    He said police raided two establishments making these pills, located in Muar in Johor and Cheras in Kuala Lumpur, this year. In 2006, when a laboratory in Kulim was raided, police seized an electrical pill-pressing machine, only the size of a coffee machine, that could produce some 40 pills a minute.

    While entertainment outlets are being monitored through rapport with their operators, pushers have still managed to find their way to vulnerable teenagers there or elsewhere.

    ACP Kang added that bad hats have brought these drugs into the schools as well.
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!