Ice now top drug in Asian states

PHOTO: Ice now top drug in Asian states

Methamphetamine is now the top drug in many Asian countries, its soaring popularity straddling social and economic divides.

It is widely known in pill form by its Thai name ya ba ("crazy medicine") and in its purer crystalline form as Ice or shabu.

The number of ya ba pills seized in South-east Asia quadrupled from 32 million in 2008 to 133 million in 2010, and that is only a fraction of what's bein produced, says the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

It is relatively cheap, highly addictive and - because its main source is former poppy-growing areas of Shan State - another daunting front in Myanmar's war on drugs.

Most pills are made in semi-autonomous areas such as Special Region 2, a once- opium-rich region bordering China.