Monday, May 11, 2009

A new twist to "High" tea

An newspaper article from the New Straits Times, Malaysia. Reported by Lee Shi-Lan called "One tablet in herbal tea makes 'em high"

"PETALING JAYA: A coffee shop here has been turning hundreds of its regular customers into drug addicts by pushing a "five-star" herbal tea to them.

Each day, more than 150 glasses of tea laced with codeine are sold to unsuspecting customers who keep coming back for more because of the high that the drug gives.

Codeine, the active drug in many cough mixtures, is used by drug addicts as a substitute for hard drugs.

The discovery was made by a Health Ministry team yesterday, when it raided a pharmacy in New Town here.

The team discovered that up to 1,000 codeine tablets a week had been sold to the coffee shop.
Initial investigations revealed that the coffee shop owner had been adding the tablets into his drinks to give his customers an "extra kick".

The owner added one tablet into each glass of herbal tea. The tablet dissolves easily, leaving many customers unaware that their drinks had been spiked.

"Customers who drink the herbal beverage, priced at RM3, will get high. However, there are also dangerous side effects, such as itching, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dry mouth and depression," a ministry source said.

As with other opiate-based painkillers, regular use of codeine can lead to addiction.

"On average, a customer who buys codeine tablets for medical reasons would only be prescribed a maximum of 10 tablets to prevent addiction.

"There is no reasonable explanation for the sale of 1,000 tablets to an individual," the source added.

During the raid, a check of the record books revealed that the pharmacist had sold 1,000 codeine tablets to the coffee shop each week. It is not known for how long he had been doing this.

The codeine tablets are sold for 50 sen each after the label has been removed.

The enforcement team seized 3,500 codeine tablets from the pharmacist's stock.

"We had been getting several reports about the pharmacy ordering large amounts of codeine tablets After checking the pharmacist's log book, it was discovered he had been selling a large amount."

No comments: