The photography to this feature follows motorbiking racing teenagers, slum dwellers and prostitutes paying for their habit through working the go go bars of Bangkok. Small time drug dealers and the Thai anti drug task force.
The direct translation of Ya Ba, from Thai to English, is Mad Medicine. Small, highly addictive orange methamphetamine pills. These tabs of misery are smoked using foil, a rolled up pipe and a converted lighter. A brief moment of high is quickly followed by violence, bouts of deep depression and in some cases narcosis. The madness didn’t stop with the users, the Thaksin government started a war on drugs, that allowed the Thai police a license to control the prohibited substance in anyway they deemed fit. At least 2400 deaths then occurred in the space of just a few months, leading accusations of extrajudicial killings. Cover feature assignments for Time Magazine and Independent On Sunday Magazine. The used imagery can be viewed here – Tear Sheets.