Meth offered 'as casually as a cup of tea' in North Korea

There's not much stigma attached to meth use in harsh North Korea, writes Los Angeles Times reporter Barbara Demick, interviewing North Koreans in China.

Some take it to treat colds or boost their energy; students take it to work late. The drug also helps curb appetites in a country where food is scarce. It is offered up as casually as a cup of tea, North Koreans say. "If you go to somebody's house it is a polite way to greet somebody by offering them a sniff," said Lee Saera, 43, of Hoeryong, also interviewed in China. "It is like drinking coffee when you're sleepy, but ice is so much better."

More: LA Times.

Notable Replies

  1. Those poor people live in a land of privation and want: yes; their leaders are mad...and?

    Do you know what your Representative is doing Right Now? Your Mayor?

    They cant get the good smoking dope, forget about coke...opiates lead to too much sloth: the Peoples Republic needs its citizens Awake and Aware. It's...sad. Unnecessary.

    The average NK human is just a soul trying to make it in a world so much more scary and difficult than You (and I) have ever had to deal with. Have some empathy. Be glad it's not you.

    "Annyeoung~! Meth? Why, no thank wouldn't happen to have any JW Black? Any alcohol at all? Negative, eh? Any form of THC perchance? No...? Some form of cocaine Fine: Thank you for the methamphetamine...onward to the karaoke lounge! Komapsumnida!"

  2. When there's no future, why not take drugs?

  3. Theu got meth. They got the bomb. They got courtier drama that makes Richard III look tame.

    I'm getting some fucking iodine pills.

  4. knappa says:

    From the article:

    Despite its draconian legal system, North Korea has long been easygoing about narcotics use. With analgesics scarce, opium paste is commonly sold for pain relief. Marijuana (called "mouth tobacco") is legal and frequently grown at home to be mixed in with rolling tobacco.

  5. Ygret says:

    Oh please. Meth was available in the US for decades before our wise leaders arbitrarily banned it. And somehow there were no exploding meth labs, cartel atrocities, or people selling their bodies for money to buy the stuff.

    Drugs done in moderation, as they are for the vast majority of the billions that take them, enhance life, regardless of whether your petit-bourgeois sensibilities view them as having a "future" or not.

    And lets not forget what the drug war really is: a war against certain classes of people who use certain classes of drugs.

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