06 July 2005

SE Asia and the US have something in common


I've always maintained that speed freaks gave drug use a bad name. Long-term speed use, unlike most other drug use, really does lead to wild-eyed psychosis. Methamphetamine, here called "yaa baa" or "yama" and usually adulterated with caffeine, is easily the most popular illegal drug in Thailand. It may be in Cambodia as well — as far as I can tell, there have been no studies on it here.

And guess what? It's America's favorite as well.

There's no real mystery why it gets used so much. It's a stimulant, and students here start using it to help them study long hours. That use carries over into work, where the combination of long hours doing repetitive work bracketed by hours-long commutes mandates some sort of chemical help. There's a terrible price paid by users, and by society. But until the work environment changes, both here and in the US, it'll continue to be popular.