And heroin is just a pain-killer

Headline du jour without doubt, on a Bangkok Post story this morning about a well-known educator who has gone temporarily or permanently insane:

Police probe ‘mad doc’ case

After that, the story (at this link) is mostly downhill, with one spectacular pratfall.

The background is this. A man named Prakitpao Tomtitchong, who is a successful pioneer in the art of the Bangkok cram-school, where kids are prepped for exams, has become (to use the medical euphemism) mad as a hatter.

He’s in the hospital and the public is interested in knowing how he evolved from a standard, rather boring businessman-schoolmaster one day, to bonkers the next. And there’s the question of whether he will recover.

According to the Bangkok Post story, a routine urine test when Prakitpao was admitted to the hospital turned up a massive ephedrine level – like, 200 times the normal amount.

At this point, the newspaper drops the ball:

Ephedrine, which is a controlled substance, has similar effects to amphetamine. It is an ingredient in medication often used by people with respiratory problems such as asthma.

Well, okay. This is true in the sense that 40-0-0 fertilizer is used in areas which require a high ammonium sulfate application. You’d say that if you were too shy to mention that this is the main ingredient for a b-o-m-b like the ones blowing up people in the South of Thailand.

But ephedrine in most circles where real people live is the main ingredient in methamphetamines or, to use the real-people term, ice or crystal meth.

The real reason that Prakitpao is a bumbing, burbling mess at the moment (and may stay that way for the rest of his life) remains to be seen.

But some people in the world are in exactly that state because they have overdosed on a drug that is making the rounds of Thai high society.

There is no way to know if the sheltered reporters and sub-editors of the Bangkok Post don’t know such things as high-so habits of the moment, or were simply too delicate to apply them to a well-known person even by implication.

These days the high-so crowd at the nightspots are inhaling cocaine and gobbling imported crystal meth. It’s what they do. Ecstasy is for older people and ketamine has been returned to the dogs, but crystal meth (ice) is growing in popularity. Overdose is simple, particularly when the whole purpose is simply to get as high as possible, and provides such a great, energetic feeling.

The people at the hospital are quoted in the Bangkok Post story that Prakitpao could become well within a month so long as he stays off the ephedrine, however he obtained it in the first place.

If you read the story, though, he went into deep paranoia some time ago, and he and friends now say he is being held in the hospital against his will, which could be paranoia or could be true.

Recovery from advanced crystal meth addiction is a tough row to hoe. If that is indeed his problem, Prakitpao could be in deep trouble.

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