Thai military forces based along the Myanmar border in the northern province of Chiang Rai have stepped up border surveillance, especially in Mae Sai district, to prevent smuggling of a new narcotic, known locally as “Happy”, from Myanmar’s border township of Tachileik in Shan State.
Thai anti-narcotics officials say the drug is easily available in almost every entertainment venue in Tachileik for between 3,000 and 6,000 baht (US$80-160) for a packet of up to 20 g of white powder.
The drug is less potent than methamphetamine, but keeps users awake and feeling good, so they can spend the whole night in a pub or a bar. The drug is available under many brand names and is contained in what look like condom packets.
Anti-narcotics officials say the drug first surfaced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly three years ago, but has only recently become popular among patrons of night venues in Tachileik, a Myanmar border township infamous for narcotics and lawlessness.
They added that while the drug has not yet been found on the Thai side of the border, local officials have stepped up road checks to look for suspicious cars or people who may try to smuggle the drug into the country.
This story was first published by Thai PBS World.