August 21, 2005 21:34
Korea’s most frequently abused drugs are slimming pills, followed by impotence cures and cold remedies.
A report submitted to the Korea Food & Drug Administration by a research team headed by Prof. Kwon Kyung-hee of Seoul National University on Sunday, 671 out of 7,728 respondents, or 8.7 percent, replied that they had taken slimming treatments.
Besides prescription drugs that often contain stimulants ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine, the figure also includes over-the-counter medication, oriental medicine and health food. Some 28 percent said they bought diet treatments in pharmacies and 22.5 percent through acquaintances, while 13.6 percent got them via Internet or home shopping, 11.8 percent in traditional markets, and 3.9 percent while traveling overseas.
Some 5.8 percent of male respondents, or 176 out of 3,020, said they used erectile dysfunction cures to increase sexual pleasure. Among them, 52.3 percent used Viagra, while Cialis was used by 10.8 percent and sildenafil citrate products by 5.7 percent. Some 26.5 percent answered they used the medicines once a year and 13.3 percent every six months.
Asked whether they had taken cold remedies for recreational purposes, 3.2 percent answered yes. "Jungle juice," a mixture of cough drops and alcohol, was the most popular with 32.3 percent of those, while 15.7 percent said they had taken psychotropic Romilar.
Kwon said diet pills, marijuana and sleeping pills were mainly enjoyed by singles or financially well-off people. Those who took them did not think of it as a serious issue either physically or emotionally, Kwon added.
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