Yaba: The Coming of the ‘Crazy Medicine’
During World War II, Nazi doctors involved in research for the military developed a new drug that contained a wickedly potent and potentially lethal brew of intoxicating chemicals. Heavily laced with caffeine and methamphetamines, this highly addictive mix of dangerous stimulants was given to German soldiers to boost their energy and keep them awake and alert during periods of extended action on the front lines.
The invention of this new super-drug was not enough to save the Nazi empire from destruction, but it was around long enough to ruin the lives of many young German men who returned to their homes after the war experiencing terrible withdrawal symptoms from a drug they were no longer able to obtain.
One would hope that such a diabolical chemical combination might have disappeared from the face of the earth with the passing of the evil forces that created it. But unfortunately the drug survived and through mysterious pathways eventually migrated to Southeast Asia, where its ability to create almost instantaneous addiction allowed it to establish a foothold so tenacious that every strategy devised by medical authorities and government officials to halt the expansion of its use has failed miserably. It is estimated that in the city of Bangkok alone there are over 1 million people addicted to this relic of the vicious Nazi regime, which now goes by the moniker ‘yaba’, a word that means “crazy medicine” in Thai. In Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, yaba use over the years has spread like the plague, ravaging entire neighborhoods and infecting vulnerable sections of youth culture in a manner reminiscent of the way crack cocaine rampaged through American society in the 1980s.
With the globalization of the drug trade it was only a matter of time before yaba found its way to these shores, which it finally did thanks to the efforts of smugglers who imported the drug into Asian immigrant communities in California in the early years of the 21st century. It was of course inevitable that yaba would be introduced to a wider American audience soon after, and in the last couple of years it has started to turn up at raves and techno-parties alongside ecstasy and other popular club drugs. Now that yaba has started to break out of its previous niche, there are legitimate fears that the use and abuse of this hyper-addictive malignant form of methamphetamine could take off and begin to spread like wildfire.
Getting to Know Yaba
Yaba is produced from an eclectic mix of caustic ingredients, including cleaning fluid, cold medicine, salt and lithium from camera batteries. Much of the world’s supply of yaba was originally manufactured inside secret laboratory facilities located in Southeast Asia, the majority of which are found in Burma, a perpetually conflict-torn nation where both the government and the rebel groups that oppose it rely on the international drug trade to fund their military activities. But yaba is not particularly difficult to produce, which means that an integrated domestic production and distribution network could be quickly set up within US borders, should demand for the drug expand to the point where such an operation would be economically feasible.
Yaba is sold in the form of small, colored tablets that can be taken orally, crushed and snorted, mixed with a solvent for injection, or melted so their fumes can be inhaled. Oral consumption delivers a steady, controlled dosage, the intoxicating effects of which can last for up to 12-16 hours, while the other methods flood the body with a concentrated blast of stimulants that will be metabolized more quickly and allow the user to experience a more intense form of euphoria.
As the Nazis discovered long ago, yaba gives its users a sudden and intense burst of energy, along with a sharpened sense of focus and a general feeling of invincibility. But once a person becomes addicted to yaba, a tolerance will be built up, forcing the habitual user to consume more and more of the drug in a futile attempt to recreate those early euphoric experiences. And as consumption levels increase and chemical dependency develops, the yaba addict will inevitably begin to suffer from some of the drug’s harrowing physiological and psychological side effects, which include:
- Rapid, uncontrollable heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
- Violent outbursts of temper
- Anxiety attacks
In addition to these short-term effects, sustained use of yaba can cause permanent damage to blood vessels in the brain, which could eventually cause a stroke; chronic inflammation of the heart lining, possibly resulting in cardiac arrest; irreversible deterioration and rotting of the teeth; and, in the case of those who choose to inject yaba directly into the bloodstream, potentially deadly infections of HIV or hepatitis B or C.
Yaba Dabba DON’T
At the present time, yaba is still very much on the fringes of the drug culture in the United States. But there may be nothing to stop it from becoming ‘the next big thing’ on the club drug scene, and given how incredibly addictive and toxic yaba is, this possibility must be viewed as a nightmare scenario. Yaba is a poisoner of minds, bodies, and souls, and those who choose to surrender their independence to the powerful entreaties of this “crazy medicine” are willfully courting their own destruction.