Many countries in the Asian continent have widely been admired for their stern laws and regulations of drug and substance abuse. Just recently, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, got quoted stating how the Chinese and Phillipinos do not have serious drug issues as they just kill culprits. To some extent, this is true in this region. The Asian continent has been able to execute a disproportionate number of culprits as compared to the rest of the world. An example of this would be in the Philippines where for the last 3 years, approximately 15000 drug convicts have been killed in extrajudicial executions. However, the drug menace among Asian countries has continued to be a thorn in the fresh despite all these regulatory efforts. This article, therefore, seeks to discuss this drug abuse problem with the focus on Asian celebrities who have been able to overcome the addiction problem.
Drug Abuse in Asia
According to Peacok et al. (2018), the first epidemic drug addiction within the Asian region was first reported in China back in the 19th century. During this period, 15 million Chinese became addicted to opium. Over the next century, drug innovations, as well as urbanization, would see a new crop of substances and hence new addictions. This ranged from heroin, cocaine to the most modern methamphetamine. Unlike in the Western set up where drug addictions have typically been treated as medical conditions, numerous Asian governments have viewed drug use from a criminal perspective and mostly tend to make use of luxury detox centers (check on Addiction Resource) in addition to legal measures. A country like China, for instance, has constantly implemented executions and imprisonment since the early 1950s. Others like Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam have since followed suit.
Looking at the statistics, evidence points out that the executions have done little to deter drug use in Asia. In China, the government reported that the number of registered Chinese drug addicts rose in 2016 to 2,51 million from 901000 in 2001 (Csiernik & Rowe, 2017). This is a 6.8% rise which has been propagated by the new synthetic drugs. In Singapore, 3089 drug abusers were arrested in 2016 as compared to 1127 in 2006. On the other hand, Malaysia recorded a high number of 22923 in 2016 as compared to 10301 in 2012. Others like Indonesia which have constantly executed both drug users and traffickers have recorded extreme numbers of up to 5.9 million in 2015.
Some of the top celebrities who suffer or have already overcome an addiction include:
• Amelia Jacobs-Miss Jacobs is the former Miss Teen Thailand and has booked a spot in this list. In 2017, she was arrested on drug-related charges, and this was not her first case. During the September raid in her home, Amelia was busted together with her boyfriend in Bangkok. When the government officials stormed the home, this actress was in the midst of consuming some narcotics, indicating her continued substance abuse and addiction. She was able to spend 11 months in jail awaiting trial due to the lack of post bail. Her boyfriend pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison alongside a fine of $23000. Luckily, for the former Miss Teen Thailand, the court dropped her charges and only got 3 months suspended jail term. In her quest to recover from her opiates addiction through a luxury drug rehab, she landed in a nunnery which forms part of luxury rehabilitation centers, which helped her regain her sobriety.
• Sutatta “Punpun” Udomsilp-She is a Thai actress who is famous for her unique talents in playing piano and singing as well. Sutatta was almost losing it in 2013 when photos of her meth addiction leaked online. However, her family came to the rescue and was quick to admit Sutatta’s addiction problem. The young actress would see all her contracts suspended, and this impacted her career negatively. However, after joining a luxury rehab, Sutatta was able to quit her addiction and consequently was able to return to acting. She has also been able to win her popularity back as a teen idol in the Asian continent.
• Seksan “Sek Loso” Sukpimai- Sek Loso is identified as a top rock star in Thai. He is also a renowned singer-songwriter as well as a digital streamer. In 2011, he opened up about his addiction to ‘ice.’ This was after his wife of the time, Wiphakorn Sookpimay posted pictures of the star taking drugs and citing issues in their relationship due to the substance abuse. However, Seksan was able to restore his public image after going through luxury treatment centers. In 2012, he apologized to his fans worldwide as well as to the ex-wife and children. He backed his reformed state by saying his creativity did not require any boost through substance abuse.
• Gao Hu-In 2014, this Chinese actor faced drug charges in a wave of detentions by the government. He was detained over the possession and use of marijuana and methamphetamine, which are highly addictive drugs. As of the writing of this piece, this actor is still serving his sentence something which has negatively impacted his career. If Gao gets a chance to visit a rehabilitation center while serving the sentence, he is likely to come out as a reformed person. This way, it would be easier for him to re-integrate back to society.
• Zhang Yuan-In the same crackdown in 2014, Zhang, who is a Chinese media personality but resides in South Korea, also got detained. Government officials raided his home where he was arrested for drug abuse. He was in the company of four artists, which shows that peer pressure is to blame in most cases of addictions. He would later be charged for using ketamine and crystal methamphetamine. Reports then indicated that Zhang would only face a luxury drug rehab program but also risked facing a prison sentence. He has since reformed and has been a key figure in various media projects in Asia.
From the above, it is clear that drug and substance abuse is not a new phenomenon in the Asian continent. Top celebrities have not been shy to come out in the open despite risking their reputations. However, with both holistic and luxury treatment centers being utilized, the war on drug abuse and addiction will ultimately be won by helping the addicts to recover and afterward using them as agents to spread the gospel of this menace.