Pubdate: Sun, 09 Dec 2007
Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)
Copyright: The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 2007
Author: Wassayos Ngamkham


As Thais rejoice over the 4x100 SEA Games gold medal in the women's
relay event, police are fretting over the 4x100 formula, a drugs
cocktail popular in the deep South.

The illegal mixture is made by brewing kratom leaves (mitragyna
speciosa) in hot water and then mixing the dark green juice with a
soft drink, cough syrup and tranquilisers. The popular cocktail has
been named "4 times 100".

The origin of the name is unclear, but it likely came from its four

Police say Pattani's Khok Pho district is the centre of the kratom
juice supply. It is adjacent to Songkhla's Saba Yoi district,
particularly Ban Node, where kratom trees flourish naturally along
many waterways.

The district police station is making an average five raids per month,
rounding up at least 10 offenders each time.

But the raids have failed to discourage users because the penalty
under the Narcotics Control Act is too lenient.

Since a kratom leaf is only a category 5 narcotic, the maximum jail
sentence under the act is only one year.

Pol Lt-Col Panya Karawanan said in many cases the court gave suspended
sentences because the offenders were in their teens.

Police now use section 12 of the Medicines Act, which interprets the
making of the cocktail as production of an unlicensed medicine,
because it has cough syrup as an ingredient. This offence carries a
maximum five years in jail.

"Since Islam prohibits drinking alcohol, many Muslim teenagers are
turning to 4x100 to get high," Pol Lt-Col Panya said. "Many
insurgent suspects admit they drank 4x100 before carrying out their
missions of destruction."

Two Muslim brothers said kratom juice was readily available in Khok
Pho and Saba Yoi districts at 50-80 baht per 1.25 litre bag. It was
easier to avoid a police search when carrying the juice than kratom

Soda was added for taste. A cough syrup with an alcoholic effect could
be bought at drug stores.

They said most of the users were prescribed tranquilisers when they
were admitted to drug rehabilitation centres.

"It is fun, maybe like drinking alcohol," one of them said. It made
me drowsy, but it shouldn't be making drinkers go out and cause havoc.

"I've heard of people adding mosquito repellent or a substance from a
neon light bulb, but who would drink that?"

Supat Hasuwannakij, director of Chana district hospital in Songkhla,
said long-term use of the cocktail could lead to addiction,
convulsions and paranoia.

He said kratom leaves and caffeine in the soft drinks stimulate the
nervous system, causing an increase in alertness, while the cough
syrup and tranquilisers cause drowsiness. The combination makes the
drinker high.

It was unlikely users would go out on a serious crime spree, like
shooting someone. But they were capable of committing minor crimes,
such as illegally felling trees and scattering spikes, he said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek