Newsbrief: Cow Dung Sniffers Have Malaysian Authorities Confounded 7/19/02

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Malaysia, home to some of the world's stiffest anti-drug laws, is finding that its efforts to suppress drug use are creating new, unforeseen problems. According to a report in the Australian News, Malaysian drug addicts unable to find their medicine are sniffing fresh cow dung to get high.

A Malaysian narcotics official told the News that dung-sniffing is a growing problem among drug users who cannot find or afford to buy drugs -- typically opiates or methamphetamines. While the resort to sniffing cow shit raises eyebrows, addicts looking for a high are also turning to solvents, glues even polystyrene smoke.

"The cow dung emits gases like sulfur, and addicts sniff on these gases to get high," the narcotics official told the News. "The problem is not very serious yet, but we are worried as this method means addicts can get high for free."

Doubtless the government and press attention to the practice will serve to inform other "at risk" groups of this novel use for dung -- creating even more cause for worry, hence more attention, leading to more popularization, etc.

Aside from its ubiquity and lack of expense, sniffing cow dung also has the advantage of not being illegal. Under Malaysian laws, drug traffickers face death by hanging, and users face coerced treatment, prison sentences up to 13 years and whippings.

Perhaps authorities can discourage dung sniffing by promoting vegetarianism.

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Issue #246, 7/19/02 Editorial: Times Change | Dutch Government Plans to Restrict Coffeeshops, End Ecstasy Harm Reduction | Nevada Marijuana Amendment Draws Flack, Praise | Canadian Justice Minister Floats Decrim Trial Balloon, Takes Flack from All Sides | Barcelona Conference Hears Link Between AIDS and Injection Drug Use -- Clinton Regrets Not Lifting Ban, Bush to Keep It | New York Marijuana Reform Party in Petition Drive to Win Ballot Status | "We're Your Good Neighbors. We Smoke Pot" -- Jeff and Tracy One Year Later | Alert: DEA Moves to Schedule 2C-T-7 | Newsbrief: Cow Dung Sniffers Have Malaysian Authorities Confounded | Newsbrief: Baltimore Homicides Continue, More Juveniles Dying Than Before | Newsbrief: Noelle Bush Imprisoned | Media Scan: Time Magazine on The Philippines, Drug Testing Protest Video Highlights | The Reformer's Calendar

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