Pyongyang has not reported any confirmed cases of the disease, which has spread around the globe after being first diagnosed in neighbouring China, though some foreign experts have expressed doubts. Residents of North Hamgyong province told Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service that government bans on commercial and social activities had left many people finding it difficult to make ends meet.
One resident said: “They could barely keep their heads above water when they could do business.
“Now the number of people going into drug trafficking is increasing.”
The resident also said unscrupulous drug dealers were touting methamphetamine as a medicine against coronavirus.
He said: “Residents have always believed ‘ice’ to be a cure-all drug.
“Since the coronavirus outbreak, people are saying that it can prevent or even cure coronavirus, but nobody knows where this rumor originated.
“The people who make the drugs are adding fuel to the rumors, misleading people into believing ice is particularly potent on coronavirus.
“People believe it is true, because fevers, coughs and body aches will all temporarily disappear if a user inhales ice.”
The resident said that underground meth labs are much more common in North Korea than they were in the past.
And when Pyonyang pulled out in early 2000s, chemists employed to make the
Kim Jong-un’s government once sponsored meth manufacturing as a means of generating foreign cash by selling the drug abroad.drugs simply took their operations underground.
A source said: “Now that ice manufacturing methods are widely known among ordinary people, it is possible to make it anywhere with the right materials and equipment.
“Residents who are no longer able to run businesses because of the coronavirus crisis can make even more profit in a single transaction than they would doing their regular business.
“They can get $16.92 per gram of ice, but with many residents not having cash to spare, they will sell it in smaller quantities, like a half, third or fifth of a gram.”
Published at Mon, 30 Mar 2020 13:41:00 +0000