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Violent Crimes in China: The Effects of Meth

meth use

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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