Thailand bans caffeine

No more coffee or tea in the country's northern provinces, in an attempt to curb methamphetamine manufacturers.


J.A. Getzlaff
March 15, 2000 10:00PM (UTC)

Six provinces in northern Thailand will be caffeine-free within a month because of a new law banning the substance, according to the Associated Press.

It's all because of methamphetamine: For those without a lab in the backyard, caffeine is an ingredient often found in the illegal drug. In recent years, methamphetamines have become a bigger problem in Thailand than heroin, which has enjoyed immense popularity in Southeast Asia, where opium grows readily in the subtropical environment. While Thai officials believe next-door-neighbor Myanmar is the major source of opium and heroin -- and now methamphetamines -- Myanmar officials say it is Thailand that is to blame. The government-run newspaper, New Light of Myanmar, recently accused Thailand of being a source for the chemicals used in the manufacture of the illegal stimulant.

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Thai authorities denied the allegation, but have decided to ban caffeine in the northern provinces, which butt up against Myanmar and are a popular trade route for narcotics.

So where does this leave the intrepid traveler? Sans caffeine, I'm afraid. But cheer up -- you can still embark on a Wizard of Oz-like trek through the region's poppy fields of dreams.


J.A. Getzlaff

J.A. Getzlaff's Daily Planet appears every weekday. Do you have a tip or tale for J.A.? Send it to DailyPlanet@salon.com.

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