There is a need for an examination into the full effects of methamphetamine abuse
IS drug trafficking on the rise, or is drug enforcement getting more efficient? This month, three foreigners in three cases have been convicted for trafficking and sentenced to death. One, an Iranian, had brought in 14.65kg of methamphetamines worth millions three years ago. Last month, RM14.9 million worth of drugs were seized in Kapar, Klang, consisting of 736,330 Erimin 5 pills (used to balance out the effects of meth) and 12.3kg of ephedrine, which is the main substance used in the production of methamphetamine pills. Last week, police nabbed six people for possession of RM5.4 million in Erimin 5 pills.
Known by many names -- crystal meth, ice, speed, glass, crank, syabu, yaba and pil kuda -- methamphetamine has been around for a long time for prescription medicinal purposes. As a recreational drug, it has experienced an international resurgence in the last two decades, largely influenced by the ease of home-manufacturing this synthetic drug, which is cheaper to produce than those dependent on opiates. It can be taken orally, smoked, snorted or injected; it is cheaper than heroin or cocaine; it is a powerful stimulant and lasts longer in the body. Best of all, meth does not carry the same stigma as "traditional" drugs. Often euphemistically referred to as a "party drug", it is also used by students and highly-driven white-collar workers to stay alert and focused. In short, it is cheaper, stronger, more popular and easier to access.
However, the very powerful high (skating) is followed by psychotic delusions when coming down (scattering), which can spill over and have drastic and even fatal consequences on those around. Ice users, for instance, are often violent and unhinged at this stage, and impossible to control. Meth is highly addictive and thought to cause brain damage. And because it sexually stimulates and diminishes inhibitions, it puts users at greater risk of contracting sexually-transmitted diseases. The really long-term health effects are yet to be discovered. But how much is known about the effects of methamphetamines on the local drug scene? National narcotic statistics place meth use at 14.19 per cent of all drug use and expected to overtake opiates. Anecdotal evidence from private drug rehabilitation centres show meth users are getting younger. The goal of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which falls today, is to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse. But as with any other commodity, while our enforcement agencies come down hard on the supply side, is enough being done to deal with demand?