Drug Trends: Ya ba

What Is Yaba?

Yaba is an illegal drug that is a combination of methamphetamine and caffeine. Manufactured in Southeast and East Asia, the drug's name comes from the Thai words that mean "crazy medicine." The drug is sold in pill form and is sometimes candy-flavored, such as grape, orange or vanilla.

The tablets are roughly the size of a pencil eraser and are printed with various logos, including R or WY. In addition to taking Yaba like a pill, users crush the pill and snort it or mix it with liquid to inject it. The pill can also be heated on a piece of aluminum foil, which creates a vapor that people can inhale to get high.

What Is Yaba's Chemical Makeup?

While different formulations are available, the drug usually contains about 30 percent methamphetamine and 70 percent caffeine, according to the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. A portion of the drug contains methamphetamine, which is a combination of salt, cold medicines, household cleaning products and lithium from camera batteries. These products, when ingested, can have harmful effects on the body, particularly the heart and brain.

What Effects and Symptoms Does Yaba Abuse Cause?

When a man takes Yaba, he experiences increased periods of alertness and feels very awake. He can experience heightened energy and an overall feeling of euphoria. While the effects lasts longer than that of cocaine, Yaba will ultimately cause a crash that can make a person feel very sleepy and depressed. Taking Yaba is associated with increased risk for dependence and a person feels the need to take more and more of the drug to experience the same high.

In men, Yaba can also cause them to experience aggressive and violent behavior as well as mental health disorders, such as depression.

Yaba can be a very dangerous drug, in large part due to its methamphetamine component. Methamphetamine abuse is associated with the following harmful effects:

  • Blood vessel damage/Stroke
  • Depression
  • Fast heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypothermia
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures

Yaba's Popularity in Today's Culture

Yaba is frequently considered a "club drug" and is taken at raves, dance clubs and electronic dance music festivals as a means to enhance the experience of dancing. According to the University of Maryland, the drug closely resembles candy and ecstasy, another club drug, so some users may take it unknowingly.

The drug is inexpensive to produce and is often sold cheaply. The pill was initially introduced in East Asia as a means to enhance soldiers' performances in World War II to help them stay awake. However, in the 2000's, the drug shifted to youth culture where younger and younger people started abusing the drug, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Because the pills are cheap and relatively easy to obtain, young men are especially vulnerable to the drug's use.

If you suspect your loved one may be abusing Yaba, encourage him or her to get help before its health effects become too great.

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