Kuala Lumpur (The Star/ANN) - Police in Malaysia are shaking down the party scene after discovering designer pills or party drugs flooding the streets, with many customers being professionals and high-income earners.
The authorities are alarmed by the sharp increase in the number of pills seized 4.13 million in the first half of this year compared to 87,000 for the whole of 2011.
Getting high on party drugs is becoming increasingly dangerous as the components in the cocktail of stimulants have become more deadly compared with the party pills available a decade ago.
Federal Narcotics Crime Investigation Department chief Commissioner Noor Rashid Ibrahim said syndicates had set up more laboratories, hiring chemists from China and the Netherlands and acquiring state-of-the-art equipment to synthesise the drugs.
"Their aim is to satisfy their customers with a product that has been adulterated to avoid it being categorised as a dangerous drug while having the same effect.
"The active ingredients are constantly changed with chemicals not listed under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 (which carries the death penalty)," he said.
A check with the Chemistry Department showed that since 2000, Ecstasy pills which traditionally used to contain up to 30 per cent-40 per cent of its active ingredient 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) are now being added with other kinds of drugs such as ketamine (a type of anaesthetic usually used in animals) and methamphetamine or syabu (a stimulant).
MDMA and methamphetamine are synthetic drugs that act on the nerves in the brain causing those who take them to experience euphoria temporarily.
Chronic use, however, can cause confusion and depression and high doses of either one can also lead to fatal heart and liver failures.
Besides deadly drugs listed in the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, the makers of party drugs also add caffeine as an adulterant or cutting (diluting) agent.