Thai and Australian authorities joined forces in a crackdown on a transnational drugs network from which they seized 1.7 million yaba pills and 296 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine or “ice”, Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) chief Sirinya Sitdhichai announced on Tuesday.
Four Thai male suspects were arrested and identified as Sarayuth Ekmongkolsuk, 28, Adisak Kaengthongthae, 24, Thiwat Klin-obchey, 23, and Preutthichai Chaiyong, 22.
The latest bust stemmed from the previous arrest of drug suspects in Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district and Trang’s Na Yong district.
A police investigation found that Thiwat and others would allegedly transport the drugs from the North to store in Bangkok’s Thon Buri area pending distribution to retailers in Bangkok and surrounding areas.
Officers spotted Thiwat’s car after staking out a Nonthaburi shopping mall that was set as a meeting point.
They followed the car to a petrol station where Sarayuth and Adisak got in. They then continued to Than Thong Market where they allegedly collected another car loaded with drugs.
Investigators found that the suspects were allegedly linked to a network that smuggled crystal meth to Australia, Sirinya said.
ONCB officers and Australian police teamed up in a “storm” operation to intercept drugs before they were dispatched to Australia and arrested an unnamed Australian fugitive.
The man reportedly sneaked into Thailand and worked at a restaurant. He had allegedly been concealing crystal meth in water filter machines and posting them to Australia where the drug’s street value would be 100 times greater than in Thailand.
Methamphetamine is a strong central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is mainly used as a recreational drug and less commonly as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity. Methamphetamine was discovered in 1893 and exists as two enantiomers: levo-methamphetamine and dextro-methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine properly refers to a specific chemical, the racemic free base, which is an equal mixture of levomethamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine in their pure amine forms. It is rarely prescribed due to concerns involving human neurotoxicity and potential for recreational use as an aphrodisiac and euphoriant, among other concerns, as well as the availability of safer substitute drugs with comparable treatment efficacy. Dextromethamphetamine is a much stronger CNS stimulant than levomethamphetamine.
Both methamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine are illicitly trafficked and sold owing to their potential for recreational use. The highest prevalence of illegal methamphetamine use occurs in parts of Asia, Oceania, and in the United States, where racemic methamphetamine, levomethamphetamine, and dextromethamphetamine are classified as schedule II controlled substances.
Levomethamphetamine is available as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug for use as an inhaled nasal decongestant in the United States.Internationally, the production, distribution, sale, and possession of methamphetamine is restricted or banned in many countries, due to its placement in schedule II of the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty. While dextromethamphetamine is a more potent drug, racemic methamphetamine is sometimes illicitly produced due to the relative ease of synthesis and limited availability of chemical precursors.
In low doses, methamphetamine can elevate mood, increase alertness, concentration and energy in fatigued individuals, reduce appetite and promote initial weight loss. At higher doses, it can induce psychosis, breakdown of skeletal muscle, seizures and bleeding in the brain. Chronic high-dose use can precipitate unpredictable and rapid mood swings, prominent delusions and violent behavior.
Recreationally, methamphetamine's ability to increase energy has been reported to lift mood and increase sexual desire to such an extent that users are able to engage in sexual activity continuously for several days. Methamphetamine is known to have a high addiction liability i.e. compulsive methamphetamine use and dependence liability,withdrawal symptoms occur when methamphetamine use ceases.
Heavy recreational use of methamphetamine may lead to a post-acute-withdrawal syndrome, which can persist for months beyond the typical withdrawal period. Unlike amphetamine, methamphetamine is neurotoxic to human midbrain dopaminergic neurons.It has also been shown to damage serotonin neurons in the CNS. This damage includes adverse changes in brain structure and function, such as reductions in grey matter volume in several brain regions and adverse changes in markers of metabolic integrity.
Methamphetamine belongs to the substituted phenethylamine and substituted amphetamine chemical classes. It is related to the other dimethylphenethylamines as a positional isomer of these compounds, which share the common chemical formula: C10H15N1
Methamphetamine is often used recreationally for its effects as a potent euphoriant and stimulant as well as aphrodisiac qualities. According to a National Geographic TV documentary on methamphetamine, "an entire subculture known as party and play is based around methamphetamine use".
Members of this San Francisco sub-culture, which consists almost entirely of gay male methamphetamine users, will typically meet up through internet dating sites and have sex. Due to its strong stimulant and aphrodisiac effects and inhibitory effect on ejaculation, with repeated use, these sexual encounters will sometimes occur continuously for several days on end.
The crash following the use of methamphetamine in this manner is very often severe, with marked hypersomnia excessive daytime sleepiness.Methamphetamine use has also been noted among men having sex with men in New York City.
Methamphetamine is contraindicated in individuals with a history of substance use disorder, heart disease, or severe agitation or anxiety, or in individuals currently experiencing arteriosclerosis, glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, or severe hypertension.The FDA states that individuals who have experienced hypersensitivity reactions to other stimulants in the past or are currently taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors should not take methamphetamine.
The FDA also advises individuals with bipolar disorder, depression, elevated blood pressure, liver or kidney problems, mania, psychosis, Raynaud's phenomenon, seizures, thyroid problems, tics, or Tourette syndrome to monitor their symptoms while taking methamphetamine. Due to the potential for stunted growth, the FDA advises monitoring the height and weight of growing children and adolescents during treatment.
The physical effects of methamphetamine can include loss of appetite, hyperactivity, dilated pupils, flushed skin, excessive sweating, increased movement, dry mouth and teeth grinding (leading to "meth mouth"), headache, irregular heartbeat,usually as accelerated heartbeat or slowed heartbeat, rapid breathing, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, high body temperature, diarrhea, constipation, blurred vision, dizziness, twitching, numbness, tremors, dry skin, acne, and pale appearance.
Excoriation disorder, or abnormal scratching and skin picking makes it an easy addiction to detect. Methamphetamine that is present in a mother's bloodstream can pass through the placenta to a fetus and can also be secreted into breast milk.Infants born to methamphetamine-abusing mothers were found to have a significantly smaller gestational age-adjusted head circumference and birth weight measurements.Methamphetamine exposure was also associated with neonatal withdrawal symptoms of agitation, vomiting and fast breathing.This withdrawal syndrome is relatively mild and only requires medical intervention in approximately 4% of cases.
Methamphetamine users and addicts may lose their teeth abnormally quickly, regardless of the route of administration, from a condition informally known as meth mouth.The condition is generally most severe in users who inject the drug, rather than swallow, smoke, or inhale it.According to the American Dental Association, meth mouth is probably caused by a combination of drug-induced psychological and physiological changes resulting in xerostomia (dry mouth), extended periods of poor oral hygiene, frequent consumption of high-calorie, carbonated beverages and bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching.
As dry mouth is also a common side effect of other stimulants, which are not known to contribute severe tooth decay, many researchers suggest that methamphetamine associated tooth decay is more due to users' other choices. They suggest the side effect has been exaggerated and stylized to create a stereotype of current users to deter new ones.
Methamphetamine use was found to be related to higher frequencies of unprotected sexual intercourse in both HIV-positive and unknown casual partners, an association more pronounced in HIV-positive participants.These findings suggest that methamphetamine use and engagement in unprotected anal intercourse are co-occurring risk behaviors, behaviors that potentially heighten the risk of HIV transmission among gay and bisexual men.
Methamphetamine use allows users of both sexes to engage in prolonged sexual activity, which may cause genital sores and abrasions as well as priapism in men.Methamphetamine may also cause sores and abrasions in the mouth via bruxism, increasing the risk of sexually transmitted infection.
Besides the sexual transmission of HIV, it may also be transmitted between users who share a common needle.The level of needle sharing among methamphetamine users is similar to that among other drug injection users.
The psychological effects of methamphetamine can include euphoria, dysphoria, changes in libido, alertness, apprehension and concentration, decreased sense of fatigue, insomnia or wakefulness, self-confidence, sociability, irritability, restlessness, grandiosity and repetitive and obsessive behaviors.Methamphetamine use also has a high association with anxiety, depression, amphetamine psychosis, suicide, and violent behaviors.
A methamphetamine overdose may result in a wide range of symptoms. A moderate overdose of methamphetamine may induce symptoms such as: abnormal heart rhythm, confusion, difficult and/or painful urination, high or low blood pressure, high body temperature, over-active and/or over-responsive reflexes, muscle aches, severe agitation, rapid breathing, tremor, urinary hesitancy, and an inability to pass urine.
An extremely large overdose may produce symptoms such as adrenergic storm, methamphetamine psychosis, substantially reduced or no urine output, cardiogenic shock, bleeding in the brain, circulatory collapse, hyperpyrexia i.e., dangerously high body temperature, pulmonary hypertension, kidney failure, rapid muscle breakdown, serotonin syndrome, and a form of stereotypy "tweaking".
A methamphetamine overdose will likely also result in mild brain damage due to dopaminergic and serotonergic neurotoxicity.Death from methamphetamine poisoning is typically preceded by convulsions and coma.