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Yaba Drug Addiction

Learn to Recognize and End Yaba Addiction

Yaba is an illegal street drug popular in Asia that is becoming a problem worldwide. Known on the street as the “crazy drug” because of the psychological and physical effects it produces, yaba addiction can happen rapidly. When it does, yaba can be a difficult, but not impossible, drug to quit. Yaba addiction treatment is available worldwide.

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What is Yaba?

yaba drug addiction

Yaba is a synthetic drug manufactured from methamphetamine. Most yaba pills or tablets contain 25 to 35 milligrams of methamphetamine combined with 45 to 65 milligrams of caffeine. Other ingredients included are hydrochloric acid (extracted from pool chemicals), acetone (nail polish remover), red phosphorous, sulfuric acid (extracted from drain cleaner) and lithium from camera batteries. If these chemicals scare you, they should; they’re all poisonous and can damage the liver and kidneys.

Yaba is usually taken as a pill or tablet. It’s inexpensive, typically going for around 200 to 450 bhat or $6 to $14 USD. Other sources say that yaba tablets can be as inexpensive as $1 in the United States and $5 in Bangkok.

The History of Yaba Drug Addiction

During World War II, both Allied and Axis military powers gave soldiers methamphetamine tablets to help them remain vigilant and in fighting shape for longer periods of time. Germany introduced the original form of yaba into Asia. Intravenous abuse of methamphetamine actually reached epidemic proportions in Japan in the 1950s. Yaba became illegal to manufacture or import into the United States in 1970.

In Asia, however, yaba was sold widely at truck stops and convenience stores, sort of the way Americans consume coffee, energy drinks and tablets to prevent drowsiness. It was used by long-haul truckers to remain awake and alert. From there, use spread into other communities, including students hoping to cram for exams and others who just wanted to experiment with the drug. Factory workers use yaba, and some people even use it as a weight loss drug. Today, yaba drug addiction is common throughout Asia, especially in Thailand where yaba abuse crosses all cultural and societal bounds.

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The largest consumers of yaba include Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, with Thailand leading the demand for the drug. Usage is spreading throughout the world, however. Bangladesh confiscated a record 1.2 million yaba tablets in 2007, and yaba is now showing up in the rave and club scene in the United States. Asian groups smuggle yaba in through the Northern California and major West Coast cities, then distribute it throughout North America.

One especially troubling aspect of the yaba trade is that drug dealers target children. Dealers have learned that it’s easy and inexpensive to add new customers to their pipeline of addicts by offering free pills to newcomers, especially children. Special candy-coated yaba pills are handed out on the streets of Asia, hooking children on the drug. In turn, these children work for dealers as couriers or delivery boys, or they fund their new drug habit with pick pocketing and petty theft.

Yaba is also extremely easy to manufacture in a laboratory. Some laboratories can make up to 10,000 tablets an hour at a cost of $1 each. Yaba is predominantly manufactured in the Golden Triangle, an area where Thailand, Burma and Laos join together. The thick jungle overgrowth easily conceals drug laboratories, and sometimes even the local militia run the drug trade. One report indicates that the government of North Korea manufactures yaba in state-sanctioned laboratories, sells it to China, and then it’s sold back into North Korea as medicine. Yaba is said to be more profitable than heroin because it’s so cheap to manufacture. Many countries that once exported heroin are now exporting yaba.

The demand for yaba continues to grow worldwide, especially throughout Asia. It is so ubiquitous that street peddlers offer yaba to passersby, and children act as couriers to deliver it to users’ homes. Many countries that tried to crack down on other drugs ended up fueling demand for yaba. The crackdown on marijuana, cocaine and heroin made those drugs more expensive, while yaba continued to be inexpensive and easily obtained.

Recognizing Yaba

Yaba goes by many nicknames worldwide. Some of the street names for yaba include:

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  • Yahbah
  • Yaabaa
  • Yama (horse drug)
  • Crazy Medicine
  • Nazi Speed
  • Hitler’s Drug
  • Shabu
  • Bhul Bhuliya
  • Chocaleee

A derivative of yaba called “ice” is also common. Ice is created from concentrated yaba, with stronger methamphetamine added. Although a different drug, it produces similar effects and is popular among Thai youth.

Yaba is sold as tiny tablets small enough to fit through the end of a typical drinking straw. Tablets are colored with food dye to make them look like candy. They can be bright red, green, orange or purple. Flavoring is often added, such as vanilla, chocolate, grape or strawberry, to hide the bitter flavor of the pills.

A nefarious method of creating new yaba addicts is to coat the exterior with chocolate or a candy coating and give pills to children free of charge. This creates yaba drug addiction at an early age. Dealers in Thailand use this practice to cultivate new users and increase demand. Children are also lured into trying yaba through Facebook promotions, a new method drug dealers harnessed to push yaba in Asian countries.

Yaba is usually swallowed, although it can be ground up into a powder and snorted, or mixed with a liquid and injected. Yaba drug abusers say that snorted yaba is the most potent, and the effects can last for days. Another method is to heat yaba and inhale the burning vapors, which users call ‘chasing the dragon.’ Many yaba abusers begin by taking pills but switch to snorting, inhaling or shooting up yaba as their tolerance levels grow.

Yaba's Effects

Yaba turns methamphetamine and caffeine, two powerful central nervous system stimulants, into a deadly combination. Yaba’s effects depend on both the dose ingested and an individuals’ metabolism. Within minutes or hours of ingestion, users feel the following effects:

  • Euphoria or a sense of incredible well-being.
  • Wakefulness to the point of insomnia — people report not being able to sleep for days.
  • Irritability and aggression, especially at higher doses or after the drug has taken full effect.
  • Increased strength or stamina, a feeling of physical competence and the ability to “do anything.”
  • Dry mouth.
  • Tremors or trembling hands.
  • Rapid heartbeat and raised blood pressure.
  • Headache or “pulsing” feeling in the temples.
  • Elevated body temperature.

For those abusing yaba frequently, the damage done to the heart can be substantial. Yaba destroys small blood vessels throughout the body, but especially in the brain and the lining of the heart. This can lead to heart attacks or strokes among frequent yaba users.

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Chronic abusers may also experience:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Weight loss.
  • Constant trembling.
  • Anxiety.
  • Psychotic behavior.
  • Delusions and hallucinations.
  • Violent behavior.
  • Paranoia.
  • Symptoms that mimic schizophrenia.

Like most central nervous system stimulants, the initial high can be followed by panic, anxiety and delusions, especially at higher doses. “Speed bugs” or “crank bugs,” a phenomenon in which users feel like bugs are crawling all over their bodies, can also result from continued yaba abuse.

Scans of methamphetamine addicts’ brains indicate that these drugs damage critical centers used for logic and reasoning. Reduced dopamine activity in methamphetamine addicts impairs coordination, fine motor skills and areas of the brain devoted to emotion and memory. It isn’t known if these changes in the brain can be reversed once an individual stops abusing yaba or methamphetamine.

Yaba Addiction Symptoms

Yaba is extremely addictive, although the rate of addiction depends on the individual. Yaba addiction symptoms can begin with moderate or habitual yaba use. Tolerance begins building almost immediately, and addiction can occur with just moderate use.

Yaba addiction symptoms include:

  • Increasing needs for greater amounts of the drug. Some addicts take 10 or more tablets a day to achieve their high.
  • Shakiness, anxiety and tremors.
  • Sleeplessness.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Pacing or restlessness.
  • Poor dental hygiene, missing teeth or blackened teeth. Yaba abusers suffer from “meth mouth” or severe dry mouth that leads to tooth and gum disease.
  • Red, flaky skin. Many yaba abusers pick at their skin unconsciously, creating red, open wounds that can easily become infected.
  • Schizophrenic behavior. Unlike what the movies portray, schizophrenia doesn’t mean a split personality, but instead a series of delusions and hallucinations.

A yaba binge is another sign of addiction. During a yaba binge, users barely eat and do not sleep. Users have been known to take great quantities of yaba for 3 to 10 days, hoping to achieve a high. This usually occurs when abusers have reached a tolerance level and can’t easily obtain a high with the previously used quantity of yaba. Massive amounts of meth and caffeine flood the system, causing sleep deprivation. The lack of sleep leads to psychosis, hallucinations and paranoia, compounded by the quantities of yaba ingested during a binge.

yaba drug addiction

Yaba users struggle to sleep, but they often forgo eating as well. Like many central nervous system stimulants, yaba acts as an appetite suppressor. Many users stop eating, and over time, develop a skeletal appearance.

Some users find that they cannot achieve the same high that they used to get when they started taking yaba because tolerance develops. The human body is an incredibly adaptable organism, and it can even adapt to an onslaught of yaba or other chemicals to maintain homeostasis. Yaba abusers often become violent when they reach this stage.

Withdrawal from high amounts of yaba can be deadly, both physically and mentally. The flip side of yaba euphoria is depression, and some yaba users who try to quit on their own end up suicidal. Other withdrawal symptoms include seizures, uncontrollable tremors and twitches and high anxiety. For those injecting yaba intravenously, there is a risk of HIV/AIDs and hepatitis B and C.

Yaba Addiction Treatment

Yaba addiction treatment is available worldwide at drug treatment centers and hospitals. Most yaba addiction treatment is conducted on an inpatient basis since the drug can cause considerable physical withdrawal side effects. Although users in the early stages of yaba abuse may be able to stop on their own, anyone who suspects they have a serious problem should seek specialized yaba addiction treatment from a qualified professional.

Detox symptoms may be treated through the use of one or more medications to counteract the side effects of withdrawal. Anti-convulsion medication, antidepressants and other medicines may be prescribed to offset the extreme agitation and anxiety. Blood and urine samples can help doctors monitor detox and spot liver and kidney issues before they develop into life-threatening problems.

Because yaba addicts often forgo food and sleep, they’re frequently malnourished. Physical recovery includes healthy foods, plenty of sleep and treating nutritional deficiencies caused by the yaba addiction.

As with all addictions, yaba addiction treatment takes a three-pronged approach: physical, mental and spiritual. Individual and group counseling help yaba addicts get through recovery and build new skills to deal with their addictive behaviors. Spiritual recovery may include 12-step support groups.

Yaba Addiction Help

Yaba addiction help is available. At 12 Keys, support, encouragement and a kind, non-judgmental approach to addiction recovery is available to all.

Yaba addiction help begins with meeting with our intake coordinator, followed by physical detox. After a supervised detox, clients begin treatment. Individualized treatment plans may include one-on-one counseling, group counseling, cognitive behavior therapy and other types of counseling. A low case manager to client ratio ensures that everyone is treated like an individual and receives the care and attention they need to successfully recover from yaba drug addiction.

Addiction is a disease, and at 12 Keys, we recognize that your addiction has roots in physical, mental and spiritual disorder or disharmony. Your case manager and counselors will work with you individually to help you recover from yaba drug addiction and regain your health, mental clarity and peace of mind.

Rehab is available for 30, 60 and 90 day stays. Aftercare, including family support, is also an important aspect of recovery. Insurance is accepted, and the intake team can help you determine payment methods to cover the cost of your treatment.

Don’t delay your recovery. Yaba addiction, like any methamphetamine addiction, can lead to serious mental and physical consequences. It steals your health, wealth and future. Although making the decision to enter treatment can be frightening, at 12 Keys, we do everything in our power to make rehab comfortable, affordable and approachable for all.

Contact us today to talk to a case manager about yaba addiction, or any drug or alcohol-related problem. Recovery is possible, and we’re here to help.

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