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‘Digital Detox’ Centres Open in Japan for 500,000 Teens Addicted to the Internet

internet-addiction-japanInternet addiction is a type of process addiction that is becoming increasingly common among youth. With internet access always available, regular internet use goes too far when users begin losing sleep, dropping grades at school, or even getting demoted or fired in the workplace because internet use has become more important than other aspects of life.

In Japan, internet addiction is soaring with an estimated 500,000 teenagers presumably addicted to the net. From playing games, to interacting in online chat rooms or simply scrolling through Facebook, these activities can create negative effects when taken too far. Teens are dropping out of school, and in worst case scenarios internet addiction can result in violence and even death. Will this ‘digital detox’ centre be able to combat the growing problem?

Find out more here: Japan Tries Online Detox

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Bali Drug Laws Unclear: Some Drug Offenders Executed, Others Not

Bali Drug Laws

Bali Drug Laws – Death Penalty Debate

Events in Indonesia over the last few years have resulted in an increase of focus and criticism on the laws regarding drug related crimes in the country. There have been calls from various international organisations and prominent leaders for Indonesia to address the inconsistencies and severity in the sentencing that has come up in the most recent cases in Bali. It has also created a hotly contested death penalty debate that has gone worldwide.

The drug scene in Indonesia is one of great contradictions; Bali drug laws have one of the strictest policies with regards to drug possession and trafficking in the world, but it also has one of the highest cases of drug and alcohol abuse too. Indonesia’s size and proximity to the Golden Triangle, which is one of the biggest trafficking rings in the world and lies on the border of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, make it an extremely difficult terrain to successfully manage the transportation of drugs in and out of its island borders.

Bali’s Drug Laws

Bali drug laws are harsh and the sentencing for Group 1 drugs is particularly severe. If caught in possession, an offender can get a 4 to 12-year prison sentence. In cases of possession exceeding a certain weight, the offender can be handed a life imprisonment sentence. Trafficking of these drugs can lead to a 5 to 15 year prison sentence, and if the drugs exceed a certain weight, the guilty party can receive the death penalty, as was the case with two of the infamous Bali 9.

Discrepancies and Inconsistencies in Bali Drug Laws and Sentencing

In the last couple of years, there have been a number of cases where the offenders have been served harsh sentences including the death penalty, where others have gotten away with lighter sentencing. The disparities in Bali’s Drug Laws have been brought into focus by the cases below:

 The Bali 9

The inconsistencies in Bali’s drug laws were most recently highlighted by the highly publicised case of the Bali 9. The Bali 9 was a group of 9 Australians that were arrested in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds) of heroin from Bali into Australia. Seven out of the nine Australians were given life sentences and two were sentenced to death. In April 2015, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed by firing squad on the island of Nusakambangan along with 6 other men of varying nationalities. The only female in the Bali 9 group, Renae Lawrence had her sentence reduced to 20 years imprisonment.

Filipina Mary Jane Veloso

Seven inmates were set to be executed along with Sukumaran and Chan of the Bali 9, but at the last moment, the life of a Philippines citizen, Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, was spared. Although there was no formal statement given by the court about their decision, it is thought that there were developments in her case that may have had an effect on proceedings. It was also claimed that Vesolo may have been a victim of human trafficking and was unaware of the 2.6kgs of heroin that was in the bag she was handed.

Aleksandra Magnaeva

Further inconsistencies were brought to light by the sentencing of Russian woman, Aleksandra Magnaeva, who was convicted of smuggling 2.1 kilograms of crystal methamphetamines into Bali. She was handed a 16.5-year jail sentence, not execution, because the court found that she showed remorse for her crimes.

 Bayu Anggit Permana

In the most recent case, a prison guard on the same island where the Bali 9 duo were executed, was caught trafficking more than 350 grams of methamphetamines. The guard claims that an inmate at one of the prisons on the island gave him the drugs. Bayu Anggit Permana was sentenced to 12 years in prison just weeks after the execution of Chan and Sukumaran took place.

The disparities in the cases above showcased the unreliability and inconsistency within Bali’s drug laws, and they have been at the forefront of a widespread death penalty debate.

The Death Penalty Debate

 The recent debacle of discordance within the Bali drug laws has fanned the flames on the already heated debate on the death penalty. Many prominent political and international figures have spoken out against the use of the death penalty as a form of punishment, included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.

The Australian government also added its voice to the fray and even removed the country’s ambassador in Indonesia after the execution of the Chan and Sukuruman. However, the Australian government has also been highly criticized about its decision to allow the Bali 9 to be arrested in Indonesia and not on Australian soil, knowing full well what the consequences would be in accordance with Bali’s drug laws.

If the death penalty is used in a country, the question remains in where it should be used and who has the right to choose who lives and who dies? In the case of Bali’s drug laws, how were they able to decide that Sukuruman and Chan should be the only ones who received the death penalty? It was reported that during their decade in prison they had completely reformed and become model inmates who helped to counsel and comfort other inmates that had substance abuse disorders. How then, did they differ from Aleksandra Magnaeva if they too showed remorse for their actions? Why were they not given a reprieve?

Bali’s drug laws were also called into serious question with the light sentencing of the prison guard Bayu Anggit Permana. Surely his position as a guard in a prison, where most inmates have been convicted of drug offences, should have made him more aware of the risks and consequences of trafficking? Should he not have been handed a sentence as harsh as many of the inmates he was meant to be guarding?

The death penalty will continue to be a hotly debated topic for many years to come, and whether you oppose it or agree with the penalty, it is clear to see that there needs to be some sort of change to address the inconsistencies and discrepancies that are found worldwide in the sentencing of inmates onto death row.

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UN: Little Progress Against Asia’s Booming Synthetic Drugs Trade

synthetic drugs asiaSynthetic drugs are once again in the spotlight in East and Southeast Asia. The UN has shared their growing concern over the production and distribution of synthetic drugs from the area.

Recently, there have been several deaths around the world caused by young people taking ecstasy, or ‘Molly’, which they believed was pure MDMA – but instead, these pills are more and more frequently being made with synthetic chemicals. And, the majority of these often deadly chemicals are coming from Asia.

Read on to find out how the UN will attempt to tackle this crisis: http://www.voanews.com/content/united-nations-asia-synthetic-drugs/2728597.html

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Hong Kong Drug ‘Kingpin’ has been Arrested in Jakarta Drug Raid


Wong Chi-Ping has been hunted by law enforcement in the SE Asian region for several years now. Reportedly responsible for the trafficking of very high quantities of drugs in the region, he was finally arrested in Jakarta during a drug raid – alongside 840kg of high-grade methamphetamine.

So what happens now? Will his incarceration mean a drop in drug abuse in the region? Or will someone else quickly step in and take his place? Read the full story here:


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ASEAN News: Drugs in Thailand Booming


It has recently been stated that Thailand has become the leading hub in the drug trade in the ASEAN region. ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is a governmental organisation that includes 10 Southeast Asian Countries. The organisation was started in August 1967 by Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, later joined by Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. ASEAN was created in an attempt to work between the various countries to improve economic growth, protect their societal values, work on regional peace and stability, and to make a platform where these countries could openly discuss disagreements peacefully.

One of the main points of cooperation between the ASEAN countries is their fight on drugs in ASEAN, and in 1976 they adopted the ASEAN Declaration of Principles to Combat the Use of Narcotic Drugs. In 1997, in a meeting between ASEAN Drug Experts, it was declared that the region would strive to be drug-free by 2020. This date was then brought forward in 2012 to being drug free by 2015.

ASEAN members developed the ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters, and they implemented a policy to combat drug usage, and attempt to bring it down to zero in 2015. Their policy works on 4 different levels as seen below:

  • Education: Instruction and information about the purchase, sale and effects of drugs for all levels of society, from teachers and school children to police officers and military personnel.
  • Treatment and Rehabilitation: Well structured treatment plans that cater for all levels of income.
  • Enforcement: Strict training and implementation enforcement officers and laws to curb the production, distribution and usage of drugs.
  • Research: Research and information gathering on the effects of drugs, the best treatment methods and the most effective policies

Drugs In Thailand


It is clear that ASEAN has missed their goal for a drug-free zone. And Thailand is apparently leading the way. For many, drugs in Thailand convey images of tourists at full moon parties or in the mountains smoking weed or taking magic mushrooms. But the reality of the drug problem in Thailand is much harsher. Drugs in Thailand have been an on-going and long-standing problem. Recently, Justice Minister General Paiboon Kumchaya announced that there are approximately 1.3 million drug addicts in the country, which accounts for around 2% of the population in Thailand.

Widely Used Drugs in Thailand


The drug in Thailand that is most widely used is locally known as yaba, and they are pills that contain a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine. Literally translated, the word yaba means madness drug, and this is because of the side effects of the drug that include aggression, convulsions, tremors and paranoia. The drug is most often taken in a tablet form or injected in its pure form, which is known as “ice”.

These drugs in Thailand are usually imported across the border from Myanmar, and the high production is a result of the political conflict and instability in the region, with rebel factions selling yaba as a means to buy weapons. The borders are long, and hard to fully patrol, making it relatively easy for the drugs to be smuggled into the country.

In the recent 44th illicit-drug incineration ceremony, 7 tonnes of drugs were burnt, including 19 million yaba pills worth about 5.8 Billion Thai Baht (180 million USD) and 318 kilograms of “ice”.

How is Thailand Fighting Drug Abuse?


In 2002, Thailand passed the Narcotics Rehabilitation Act, which enforces anyone caught using drugs in Thailand to enter drug rehab for addiction treatment. The aim of the act is to treat drug users as patients rather than criminals. The programme has come under criticism however, from various sources. Law enforcement officers often conduct raids throughout Thailand’s young neighbourhoods in the search for possible suspects. Any unfortunate person caught in the act is forced to admit that they are addicted to drugs, or – they must produce a urine sample.

Therefore, this method relies on a one-time urine test that doesn’t separate addicts from first time or occasional users. Thus, if someone is caught smoking marijuana for the first time, they will receive the same treatment sentencing as a full-blown heroin addict. It also fails to address what kind of drug the users may be addicted to, and therefore their treatment plan may not be suited to every individual’s best interests. But these individuals are also not getting harsh sentencing into jails, where it is unlikely that their habit would improve and their chances of getting clean in a drug rehab centre are much higher. The act aims to have 10% of all addicts fully kick their habit on release.

While the sentencing for the use of drugs in Thailand has softened to include this compulsory rehab treatment, the country’s laws on possession, trafficking and distribution of drugs is still extremely harsh. The death penalty is a very real possibility if you are caught with enough drugs in Thailand to be selling or distributing them.

Drug rehabilitation in Thailand ranges from the compulsory drug treatment at government centres which is often run by charities or religious organisations, to top of the range facilities that are frequented by wealthier individuals. The latter rehab centres are purely voluntarily based and not part of the Narcotics Rehabilitation Act.

Drug-Free in 2015?

Drugs in Thailand still remain a massive problem, but there are new steps and measures being implemented to try and stop this flow of drugs in and out of the country. Education is taking place in schools and other institutions and the government is trying to get families in the community to become involved in the war on drugs in Thailand. However, the drug trade is still going strong, and drastic steps are going to have to be taken in Thailand and surrounding countries for the ASEAN target of a drug free region in 2015 to succeed.

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Violent Crimes in China: The Effects of Meth

meth use

One-third of the world’s population resides in East and Southeast Asia. And one of the biggest challenges facing these Asian countries, including China, is the manufacturing and use of synthetic drugs. In recent years, Asia has experienced a wave of synthetically produced amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), particularly of the substance methamphetamine. Synthetic drugs, also known as designer or club drugs, have become increasingly popular among younger drug users. These ATS drugs are engulfing the drug market quickly, in what people are calling Asia’s ATS Epidemic.

The Synthetic Drug Industry in South East Asia

Where once plant-based drugs such as opium or heroin topped the drug markets, synthetic drugs are quickly taking over. Synthetic drugs such as meth, ecstasy, and LSD, are man-made by chemically synthesizing and combining different precursor chemicals, and methamphetamine in Southeast Asia are spreading like wild fire. The drug most commonly used is crystal meth, notoriously known as ’ice’.

Many believe that the increase of demand of meth in China and other Southeast Asian countries is due to economic integration between regions. Synthetic drugs, unlike plant-based drugs, don’t need large areas of land to cultivate on, and are therefore easier to manufacture. ATS drugs are manufactured in laboratories around China, mostly situated around southeastern coastal areas. This is ideal for smugglers, because they can import and export precursor chemicals, as well as their manufactured stock through the harbours. Shipments are usually dispersed between many shipping containers, in order to minimize losses should any busts take place. Punishment for drug possession and trafficking in most Southeast Asian countries is severe, with most perpetrators receiving life in prison or even death.

Despite the severe penalties, however, production and distribution of ATS drugs in China is still increasing rapidly. These drugs cost little to produce and can be sold for a pretty penny, which means that many producers and traffickers find the high profit margin too appealing to resist. However, they must be creative in how their drugs are transferred around the world, and more and more cases are being reported of women, children, and under-educated persons being used as drug mules – poverty and desperation often the cause. But regardless of how the drugs are brought from point A to point B, the fact remains that meth has detrimental effects on the end user.

The Effects of Meth on the User

ATS drugs, also referred to as party drugs, have become increasingly popular as a form of entertainment amongst the younger generation, who usually have more disposable income – and less fear (or knowledge) of the effects of these drugs. However, the effects of meth on the user are catastrophic and can even be deadly. Drug addicts will often describe their meth experiences as a high that borders on euphoric. However once the experience is over, users often experience extreme depression, and feel compelled to continue using the drug to prevent an extreme crash.

Between January and September police in China recorded over 100 incidents of meth related violent crime, which is more than the last five years put together. The effects of meth make users become unpredictable, paranoid and in some cases delusional. It is the combination of these factors that make meth-users extremely violent and dangerous.

China alone was suspected of having a staggering 14 million drug users – over half of them being meth users. Dealing with meth makers and users can also be extremely dangerous for police authorities. The effects of meth include increased confidence whilst diminishing inhibitions, leaving users to defend themselves with extreme physical violence with no ‘off-switch’, leaving police officers badly injured when attempting a bust or arrest.

In China, crimes which are drug-related carry serious penalties, and offenders can be sentenced to life imprisonment or even the death penalty. Because of this many would rather fight and risk dying, than be arrested. But violence also takes place between the dealers and the users. During a drug transaction, if the addict feels cheated or threatened he may jump into a fight.

Laos, Myanmar and Thailand have all joined forces with China and agreed to work together against the escalating problem. 12.1 tonnes of drugs were recently seized by authorities and during the past 50 days, China’s police have arrested almost 24,000 people under the suspicion of drug involvement.

How Does Meth Lead to an Increase of Violence in China?

The increase of violence due to meth in China is very real. Drug smugglers and manufacturers are arming themselves with lethal weapons such as grenades and automatic guns in order to protect themselves from authorities. Many smugglers and drug syndicates are substantially more armed then the authorities themselves, making it difficult for the police to control the violence.

Smugglers are also arming themselves against other syndicates who may cross into their territories. Firefights occur on a daily basis, especially along the more popular smuggling borders such as the Burma-China Border. Many traffickers will rather risk dying in a firefight as opposed to being sentenced to a penitentiary, where they will most likely receive the death sentence.

In many villages in China, syndicates have taken control of local businesses and law enforcement, which leaves the public helpless, an unable to lawfully protect themselves. These factors all contribute to the increase of violence throughout China on a larger scale; however individuals addicted to meth also have a part to play. In comparison to traditional drugs like opium and heroin, methamphetamine can lead to extreme mental problems and violent outbursts.

The effects of meth on the brain are disastrous to an addict’s mental state. People suffering from drug addiction are prone to extreme violent behaviour. Because the mental effects of meth can be delusions, violent mood swings and hyperactivity, addicts are often quick to lash out at those around them, even their loved-ones. If a meth addict is in a state of psychosis they are more likely to be aggressive, and in a moment of desperation an addict could resort to actions such as kidnapping and murder.

As levels of substance abuse disorder increases, so does the necessity for more drug rehabs in Asia. If you or someone you know has a problem with meth addiction or other drug abuse, contact a drug rehab today.

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ASEAN Claims for a Drug-Free Continent Fail Completely


In 1998, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) declared that they would create a drug-free zone in Asia by the year 2015. However, opium production in the Golden Triangle (where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet) has doubled in the last ten years, now representing at least 30% of the entire world’s opium stash.

The guys at Vice take a look at why that’s happening, and what the world needs to do about it…  https://news.vice.com/article/southeast-asias-war-on-drugs-is-a-grotesque-failure-but-why-stop


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