China Is Getting High on a Drug That Looks Like Milk Tea

According to Guiyang’s public security office, the wildly vague "milk tea drugs" are a new kind of ketamine (or dissociative anesthetic) powder—but one that is packaged to look just like plain old milk tea.

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May 25 2016, 2:00pm

Packages of milk tea—a combination of black tea and evaporated or condensed milk—are all the rage in China and throughout the rest of Asia. Just add boiling water and you've got a delightful treat—one that is so popular, in fact, that Hong Kongers are said to drink 900 million cups of it a year.

But now, some of the milk tea for sale in China may not actually be milk tea at all, but instead a drug akin to an amped-up version of ecstasy that is crossed with meth.

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Yangjiang City is located in Guangdong province, the province that was formerly known as Canton—China's most populous. Just this month, eleven people were arrested in a hotel room there after the police were tipped off to a drug ring. Ten of those arrested were found to have been high from something referred to as "milk tea drugs."

According to the official Weibo account of Guiyang's public security office, the wildly vague "milk tea drugs" are a new kind of ketamine (or dissociative anesthetic) powder—but one that is packaged to look just like plain old milk tea. It even smells like milk tea. The drugs contain MDMA and methamphetamine, and are easy to prepare—just add hot water. Local authorities claim it can be hallucinogenic and highly addictive.

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A video showing footage of the drug bust reveals that the suspects were so faded that they didn't even notice when the police had entered the room.

Local police are telling people, especially students around campuses, to be vigilant and not to accept milk tea drinks from strangers. According to What's On Weibo, Chinese social media users are starting to display a growing level of paranoia about the innocuous-looking stuff: "They really must thoroughly investigate this new kind of milk tea drugs," one Weibo user said. "They cannot let it enter normal tea shops, and get to the people." About the recent arrests, another commenter said: "People sure pay a high price for one moment of excitement."

Getting one's jollies off is all well and good, but it's clear that capitalizing on a ridiculously ubiquitous and mundane drink could eventually lead to widespread panic if left unchecked.