Readers' Submissions

A Primer On Farang Drugging

A current and alarming theme on Stickman these days is the stories of farangs drugged and robbed. True, frequenting bargirls or freelancers, basically meddling with prostitution, is a risky business at best and not too wholesome, so I guess one could say "som nam na" and leave it at that, but as a matter of fact, this problem is not limited to prostitution. Go to a disco and meet some new folks. Regular fun.

But what if someone decides to clean you out and drug you with one of the "date rape drugs" like GHB, Rohypnol or Keta? Worse, a GHB overdose is easy to come by (much harder with Keta). All it would take is for the thief to mess up on the dose and you end up dead instead of "just" drugged. Gives a whole new meaning to the expression "a body to die for", doesn't it?

Actually, several guide books have published since long a warning about accepting fruits from strangers during a bus trip much for the same reason – you wake up in the middle of nowhere with nothing but your underwear, if that – and my guidebook added this problem was mostly gone. This stuff with keta, isn't really that new…except that it looks like the problem has reached the entertainment scene and while it's quite easy to refuse a fruit in the bus, constantly watching your glass, refusing other people's drinks, and avoiding intimate contacts with unknown females kind of defeats the whole "entertainment" concept for many).

Recently I had a bowel problem – don't worry, no details, and a pal recommended I take some activated carbon, as it looked like an excess of toxins. I figured I might as well look into it and after studying a bit on it, decided to take it and indeed, it definitely helped. What follows is a debrief on what I learned about activated carbon.

I don't mean to give medical advice or anything – I don't sell the stuff. Up to you to research on it for yourself or seek the advice of a MD, but I think it's an interesting bit of data given the current context and I wanted to bring it up.

Activated carbon does not stop at handling bowel problems. Activated carbon is an extremely absorbent material and as it goes through your system, it collects (absorbs) all kinds of toxins, poisons, nutrients…and drugs (all drugs are basically poisons, it's just a matter of dosage). As such, it is used to handle poisoning, overdoses, and it is also known to help in case of hangovers. (Never had one, so I can't really debrief you on that, but I figure most readers can easily test that theory and let us know).

Activated carbon can be bought in any pharmacy. At Watson, 10 tabs cost the whopping price of 18 baht.

On the downside, it absorbs just about everything, not just poisons and that means nutrients too, so it is recommended not to take it within 2 hours of a meal. There are no reported side effectd beside that, however I figure that based on the way it works you could develop carencies if you were to use it too often. I also found the following counter-indications: Documented hypersensitivity; poisoning or overdose of mineral acids and alkalies; unprotected airway or absent gag reflex.

The fact that you are not supposed to take it at least 2 hours before a meal tells us it is active for that time period. Consider just 1 hour so max before engaging a risky situation (like accepting a drink from folks you don't know), I definitely plan to have a few of these tabs with me and swallow a tab just before, and if I happen to feel weird, gobble another one.

Can it effectively deal with Keta? I don't know for sure and I hope I will never end up in the situation where someone is trying to drug me. However, it could be the difference between getting drugged up and getting killed if taken fast enough, or even at the same time. Activated carbon / charcoal works by absorbing the poisonous substance, so if the drug is already absorbed in the tissues, it is useless.

Various websites tend to indicate activated carbon is useless in case of a GHB overdose because GHB is absorbed very rapidly. However their concern is handling an overdose that already occurred for some time, as in the case of a crisis worker noticing the effects (meaning a good 30 minutes after intake in most cases) and by that time, there wouldn't be much for the activated carbon to absorb. There is no mention of what would happen if you took it just after taking activated charcoal, or took activated carbon just after the first sign of something being wrong. Chances are it could just save your butt by absorbing a part before any damage.

Activated carbon may or may not work for that, but it's a good line of research for those who tend to expose themselves more than average to this kind of situation. However, in my opinion, nothing can replace staying alert. Don't get careless because you just took some activated carbon – you'd lucky if it manage to lessen the effect to a manageable state. Besides, if someone is ready to drug you and perhaps to kill you for a few hundred bucks, you probably wanna know, don't you? I am ready to bet they know that the stuff can kill, so you are basically talking about murderers. Being aware of your surroundings, it should be possible to spot most people with evil intentions.

That said, considering the number of people who get pissed drunk, completely out of their mind, in less than honorable environments and don't get anything worse than an monster hangover so thing need to be kept in perspective nevertheless and my gut feeling is that Thailand is still much safer than most other countries I have been to.

An interesting link:

Beware that when researching overdose handlings, you will obviously get on a number of websites which tend to advocate the use of drugs and minimize their effects – you are in fact reading a dealer manifesto. So you could use pinch of salt or two, or in many cases, even a bucketload.

Anyway, the above is what I learned after a few hours of search on the net and I thought it would be interesting to share it here. I have not experimented with any drug, so this is nothing more than a debrief on data I found on the net. Whether you decide to use any of this is your responsibility alone.

Stickman's thoughts:

I know that your intentions are good, but I would be VERY careful about taking any drugs at all. Check with a real doctor in a real hospital before trying anything like this.