Meth: Satan’s phlegm artificially created

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Meth: Satan’s phlegm artificially created

The author is a national news 2 team reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.

Zero-point-zero-three grams is a single dose of methamphetamine in a disposable syringe. The market price for one dose is 100,000 won ($69). On Sept. 26, singer-songwriter Don Spike was arrested by police at a hotel in Gangnam. He was in possession of 30 grams of methamphetamine at the time —1,000 doses worth 100 million won at market price. In some serious addiction cases, 0.05 grams, nearly half a syringe, may be filled with methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine, a synthetic drug developed in Japan, was once legally circulated. The origin is Philopon, a stimulant sold by a Japanese pharmaceutical company in 1941 during World War II.

The chemical compound, methamphetamine, accumulates in the body and causes various side effects. In the Netflix series “Narco-Saints,” Pastor Jeon Yo-hwan — a drug lord who has the exclusive right to trade cocaine in Suriname — shouts, “Philopon is like Satan’s phlegm artificially created by men, whereas cocaine is natural-born God’s grace.” Cocaine is a natural drug made from hallucinogenic ingredients extracted from coca leaves.

Korea is located close to Southeast Asia, where a large volume of methamphetamine is manufactured and traded. According to Democratic Party lawmaker Yang Kyung-sook, 1,272 kilograms of smuggled narcotics were recovered last year alone. It is the largest volume since the opening of the Korea Customs Service. It accounted for 56.2 percent of the 2,264 kilograms of smuggled drugs over the last five years from 2017 to 2021. One-thousand-and-eight kilograms of methamphetamine was the largest quantity of all that was discovered over the five years.

Drug users are on the rise. Through Telegram or the dark web, drug dealings among young people are increasing. Last year, among 10,626 drug offenders, 3,507, or one in three, were in their 20s. In the same year, drug offenders caught on the internet and the dark web accounted for 31.8 percent or 3,377. The investigative agency is concerned that the proportion of first-time offenders is rising.

Due to the alarming developments, a bill to ban the labeling of harmful substances as “drugs” in food was proposed. On Sept. 23, People Power Party Rep. Kwon Eun-hee proposed an amendment to the Act on Labeling and Advertising of Foods. Not only obscene expressions but also wordings related to “harmful drugs and objects” should not be used on foods. We need to be alert on names like “addictive gimbap.”
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