The Maddening Menace of Yaba


An audio clip of a man being murdered in cold blood by the Bangladeshi police, has been creating quite the stir in the State of Bangladesh. Ekramul Haque, a local municipal ward councillor of Teknaf was shot in a crossfire between the Rapid Action Battalion [RAB] and the drug mafia. Caught in the mire of deepening social crisis, Bangladesh has been grappling with the issue of drug trafficking. With the Rohingya refugees acting as drug mules along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, the issue has put the state in a fix. Having had provided refuge to the persecuted Rohingya community, the Bangladeshi government had allowed for the setting up of the refugee camps on humanitarian basis. Bereft of employment, the refugees have resorted to the couriering of drugs. Falling prey to the lure of easy money-making, the Rohingyas and some of the local Bangladeshis have stooped to the peddling of drugs.

Embarking upon a quest to purge the nation of drug traffickers, the state has been undertaking stringent measures. RAB, an anti-crime and anti-terror outfit of the Bangladeshi Police Force, has been on a crackdown on the drug cartels. As a clampdown, the police force encountered 120 suspected criminals in just the first two weeks of the Ramzan month. But the killings have invited severe castigation from human rights activists who insist upon dealing with the root cause rather than the extermination of the mere mules.

Drug ferrying across the borders of Myanmar and Bangladesh has turned rampant over the last few years, the culprit being the little pink pill named `Yaba.’ Yaba, known as the `madness drug’, has been flowing freely across the Thailand-Myanmar-Bangladesh tri-junction. Having had wreaked havoc in the Mainland South East Asian nations of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, the pink pill has now emerged as a rage in the Indian subcontinent. The pill now poses imminent threat to the citizens of India, as it has made its despicable entry into the north-eastern states of the nation.

The deadly trail

Bangladesh has had an abominable history of drug-related crime. With the easy availability of Marijuana at government dispensaries, pot became a part of the culture in the 1900s. But its legal ban in the 1980s resulted in an upsurge in the use of hard drugs. With heroin flooding the market, Bangladesh soon emerged as a prospective destination for drug-manufacturers. Soon the state witnessed the emergence of the elite drug, Yaba. Hailed as the madness drug, Yaba soon became a rage amongst the upper classes. From being a mere pastime, it grew to become a necessity for the blue-collared classes.

Composed of caffeine and methamphetamine, the pill provided the vigour to work for longer hours, making it extremely appealing to the business classes.

Initially used by the soldiers during the World War II as a mechanism to evade sleep, methamphetamine later on was used for medical purposes. An ingredient of cough syrups, the drug was also employed as a weight-loss supplement in the Southeast Asian nation of Thailand. But with its ban in the 1970s, the sale of the drug became illegal, as per the Controlled Substance Act. Taking its place, was the category one drug, Yaba which soon became prevalent in the country. Turning out to the most detestable drug in the history of Thailand, its usage was soon penalized with twenty years of imprisonment and a hefty fine. Yet the country remains to be one of the largest distributors of the drug.

Predominantly manufactured in Myanmar (Burma), the drug has now forayed into the markets of the United States of America.

Red or pink in colour, the pill can either be orally ingested or snorted in its powdered form. Imprinted with the letters WY, the pill is laced with a vanilla flavour, which leaves behind an aroma when smoked off tinfoil. Also known as the Nazi speed, the drug is a potent combination of various stimulants. But the ratio of its main constituents, viz., caffeine and methamphetamine decide the potency of the drug. The crystalline form of the drug; ice, completely constitutes of the methamphetamine drug. Flooding the markets of Southern Asia, the drug is now available at Rs 500 a piece in certain regions of northeast India. Debilitated by the Yaba epidemic, Bangladesh has been fervently trying to mitigate its effects.

Available in Dhaka at the price of $6.25, the pill has sort of become a household commodity. With lower-quality pills being available at a mere $3, the drug poses imminent danger to the society. With a rise in the number of drug-abuse cases in the capital, the government has taken upon a resolve to end the menace. India should definitely follow the lead of Bangladesh, and enforce a parallel crackdown in the North-Eastern region.

Let’s end the menace of Yaba!

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