drug use

For months, residents in an affluent part of Pattaya, a seaside resort town near Bangkok, assumed that the three foreign men who lived in a nearby luxury villa ran an import-export business, because, as one resident told local media, people “who looked like businessmen” came and went throughout the day.

It was not the sort of export-import the locals envisaged, as they learned when the villa became the target of one of Thailand’s biggest-ever drug busts in late November. 

Curbing imports has been high on the Brazilian government’s priority list recently but it seems the authorities should be spending less time fretting about cheap Chinese cars and electronics and more time worrying about cocaine.

Brazil is the world’s biggest market for crack and the second biggest for overall cocaine use, according to new figures published by the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP). About 3 per cent of Brazil’s adult population (almost 6m people) has tried cocaine or some form of the drug.