From ya khayan (hard-working pill) in its early days to ya maa (horse medicine), the drug was named yaba (crazy pill) in 1996. It was given to horses when pulling carts up steep hills and for other strenuous work in Shan State. The slang terms for yaba in Burma are "kyethi" (literally, "button"), "athi", and "palarkar".In Malaysia, yaba is known in Malay as "pil kuda" (literally, "horse pill").
It is commonly found in the state of Kelantan, which is on the border with Thailand. yaba is sometimes called "bhul bhuliya" in India. The name commonly used for it in the Philippines and Indonesia is "shabú".
In north Thailand it is often referred to as "chocalee" due to the somewhat sweet taste yaba leaves in the mouth and its strong chocolate smell. The name commonly used for it in China is "ma-goo" or "ma-guo". In Bangladesh, it's colloquially known as "baba", "guti", "laal", "khawon", "loppy", "bichi" etc. Yaba, otherwise known as the madness drug or Nazi speed, is a combination of a number of stimulants.
The two main substances that make up the drug are caffeine and methamphetamine, otherwise known as crystal meth. Yaba is a drug in tablet form, and it is most often red in color with the letters WY imprinted on it. Those users who take it most commonly smoke the drug off tinfoil, though it can be ingested orally or crushed and snorted. It is also laced with a flavoring, most often vanilla, and gives off this aroma when smoked.
The ratio of caffeine to methamphetamine inevitably varies; however, the potent drug makes up approximately 20% of yaba. There is also a crystalline form of this narcotic known as ice, which can almost entirely be made up of methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine had a long history before it became illegal in 1970 by the Controlled Substance Act. Before this law, methamphetamine was used in World War II to help keep soldiers awake. It was also an ingredient in a number of seemingly random things, such as cough syrup. And while its original intent was to help keep people alert, it was also used as a weight loss supplement.
Yaba is the most popularly used and distributed drug in the Kingdom, regardless of the harsh punishments that coincide with those who are caught with it. Yaba is a category one drug, the worst type of drug there is in Thailand, and those who use it face up to 20 years in prison or have to pay a very hefty fine.
Those who are in possession of more than 20 grams of yaba face lifetime prison sentences and even the death penalty if caught, as in the eyes of the law, that person most likely has the intent to sell the drugs. One of the most alarming effects of yaba abuse and addiction is the mental health problems which can be associated with both prolonged and even short term use. A person may display extreme paranoia or confusion.
Anxiety, aggression and violence are all possibilities which is why crime often goes hand in hand with yaba abuse. Rehab centers have also reported many addicts experiencing hallucinations or feelings of bugs crawling underneath the skin. Due to energy rushes, a yaba abuser may suffer from insomnia and nightmares. As a result of the extreme highs and lows, depression and suicidal tendencies are common. The physical effects of yaba abuse resemble those of a methamphetamine addiction.
Rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure and damage to blood vessels in the brain (which can cause a stroke) are synonymous with occasional and regular yaba use. Overtime, the lining of the heart and tissue of the lung can become inflamed. Hair loss, skin ruptures, kidney and liver damage, infection of the esophagus, seizures, tremors, stroke and heart attacks are all symptoms which could appear without seeking the help of a yaba treatment center.
The majority of users will orally take yaba; however, there is a small percentage who inject the drug. This opens up the possibility for contracting infectious diseases like HIV, hepatitis and STD's through unprotected sex.
Over the last few years, drug addiction has become an issue of great concern in our country and has affected our society.The in charge of green life center of treatment and rehabilitation of drug addiction and mental disorders said, drug addiction is a severe social problem. It breaks down families, causes erosion in social values, reduces earnings and increases wasteful expenditures. The number of addicts is on the rise, with most between the ages of 18 to 30.
These young people face social problems, such as peer pressure, unemployment, relationship difficulties, to name a few, also he added.It is an impediment for social progress. The drug causes premature death, which put families into financial turmoil. There are no exact statistics in Bangladesh on the number of drug addicts. And most of the addicted are Yaba addicted. Whatever might be the reason behind the malignant growth of drug trade and abuse, it has to be stopped in order to save our youths from self-destruction.
The law enforcers have already arrested a number of suspected drug peddlers. And we expect that soon they will be able to identify and catch the godfathers who might have been controlling the business from behind the scene. Drug abuse has to be prevented at any cost, if we don't want to find ourselves ensnared with a social menace of the most unmanageable type.
Parents teacher and the civil society members also should not avoid their responsibility for starting a social movement to raise peoples' awareness against drug addiction, Pressure should also be created on the government to improve the logistics when the alders want to return to normal life. Otherwise we will have a generation yielded to Yaba.
The writer is author and columnist.
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