In the latest drug craze to hit the south, youths in Nakhon Sri Thammarat’s Muang District of Thailand are reportedly drinking a concoction that includes the ashes of recently-cremated corpses and an extract from leaves of the Krathom tree.
Phon, a 17-year-old from Muang District, said he and his gang of about 10 friends had tried every known concoction of Krathom leaf available until they stumbled upon the new formula.The mixture is made by boiling the leaves and then adding ashes taken from beneath funeral pyres following cremation ceremonies.
The youths believe the mixture confers physical strength as well as spiritual protection from the ghost of the person whose ashes were drunk, Mr Phon said. The drink has an indescribably amazing taste and anybody who tries it becomes instantly addicted, he added.To satisfy their thirst for the elixir, the youths drive around looking for funerals. When the cremation is over, they sneak in to steal the left over ashes.
The mixture is known as ‘Avatar’ after the hit film or ‘tai hong’, which means ‘violent death’.
Sumol Aksonphalee, Chief of tambon Bang Chak Village 5, said he was well aware of the problem of youths getting high from boiled Krathom leaves.
He also confirmed that the latest fad of youths mixing their Krathom juice with ashes of the recently deceased – although he added that he couldn’t understand why.
Most of the kids who were into Avatar, both male and female, tended to look very unhealthy and he suspected they wouldn’t have long lives.
Truancy officer Somphong Yutao said he spoke to students who were into drinking ashes to try and find out what was behind the trend.
“The youths believe [the mixture] gives them special powers, especially when it comes to attracting the opposite sex. When they speak [to someone they like] they will have a special aura that makes [their target] fall for them,” Mr Somphong said.
“This type of behaviour is very worrying, but all we can do is keep track of it and inform the crematoriums to shoo the kids away,” he said.