Health

South Korea is “poisoned”, not only in the entertainment industry

On February 9th, at the Yeoju Prison in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, a young man with a slightly fatter figure walked out of the high wall. The reporters guarding the door moved upon hearing the wind, and the sound of the shutter clicking was heard endlessly for a while.
The person released from prison is Li Shengli, a former member of Asia’s top boy group Big Bang, who was investigated for sexual bribery and drug issues and ended up in jail. On the same day, also attracting the attention of the media, there is also a current top Korean entertainment star Yoo Ah-in, the youngest actor of the Blue Dragon Award. The South Korean police revealed that Yoo Ya-in traveled to many hospitals many times to prescribe the controlled drug propofol for non-medical purposes.
This is not the first time that a top Korean celebrity has been involved in drugs. Kwon Ji-yong, Ha Jung-woo, “Uncle Bird” PSY, the original singer of “Gangnam Style”…Drug-related stars include actors, singers, singing and dancing idols, and behind-the-scenes productions. People and all walks of life in showbiz; their drugs, including propofol, marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, ketamine and heroin, are an encyclopedia of common drugs.
Korean entertainment, whose stars are involved in drugs, is a profile of South Korea’s drug problem. Samsung’s “Prince” Lee Jae-yong and the granddaughter of the founder of Nanyang Dairy Industry, Huang Hana, have all been sued for drug problems. Last year’s Itaewon stampede accident was once rumored to be related to the free distribution of drugs.

On May 14, 2019, Lee Seungri, a former member of Big Bang, arrived at the Seoul Central Court for a review of the necessity of arrest

Judging from the data alone, more than ten years ago, the number of drug crimes per 10,000 people in South Korea was less than 2, but in just over ten years, South Korean drug crimes have become younger and younger. Meth is even priced in internet chat rooms. As South Korea’s “Asia Daily” described, “drug clean country” has become the past tense of South Korea.
drug abuse

In February 2019, there was a bit of spring in Seoul, but several Korean girls could not feel the warmth, and their thoughts drifted back to that night a few months ago. They were playing in the nightclub opened by “National Idol” Li Shengli, but they suddenly lost consciousness, and their memories of when they woke up the next morning seemed to disappear.
Now, a surveillance video that has been exposed shows that under the cover of dim lights, a kind of “rape drug” called “G water” was poured into the cups of the girls. One can imagine what happened to them.
The full name of “G water” is 4-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB). It is a colorless and odorless central nervous system depressant. It is mostly used as an anesthetic in clinical practice and is listed as a drug or a controlled drug in many countries.
A stone stirs up a thousand waves. Drugs, sex trade, such bad keywords have deeply hurt the nerves of the Korean people, and the drug-related issue forced the South Korean police to intervene. As the investigation continues to deepen, Li Shengli and singer Zheng Junying are accused of participating in intermediary transactions, gambling, gangsters, prostitution, etc., and it is suspected that high-level police and government officials are involved behind the scenes. The darkest side of the Korean entertainment industry has once again been exposed to the public. .
Ironically, even though the “Victory” case triggered an “earthquake” in Korean entertainment, and the then President Moon Jae-in also ordered a thorough investigation, the police were still unable to sit down after finding a large amount of “G water” from Li Shengli’s nightclub. In fact, he was involved in drugs-although he was convicted of all 9 counts he was charged with, he was only sentenced to 18 months in prison.
If the law is not strict, there will be no cure. Connivance with drug-related people makes Korean public figures confident. When the “Victory” incident was first exposed, the past of Big Bang captain Quan Zhilong’s arrest for smoking marijuana in Japan was brought up again, but his career in South Korea was basically unaffected. .
There are not a few Korean celebrities who are as addicted to propofol as Yoo Ah-in.
In 2013, actress Park Si-yeon was accused of injecting propofol 185 times within a year, and she still had an injection record when she was 7 months pregnant, but she was only sentenced to 8 months in prison, and she was not executed in prison because of her pregnancy; In 2020, the powerful actor Ha Jung-woo was accused of illegally using propofol, and was only fined 30 million won (approximately RMB 170,000) in the end; 41 illegal injections of propofol were only fined 87 million won (about 470,000 yuan).
Aoao, who has worked in a Korean media entertainment section for several years, told “Watch the World” that whether the abuse of narcotic/psychotropic drugs or marijuana should be regarded as a history of drug abuse has always been debated among the Korean people. Therefore, the public and even the media do not completely resist the above two types of drug-related artists. “(Their) acting careers will definitely be affected, but they will not be completely banned.”
Take the actor Zhu Zhixun as an example. “It was also brought up again by old things. Since then, although Zhu Zhixun has no shortage of film contracts, his career has not been able to reach a higher level.
In Aoao’s view, it is precisely because of the possibility of an artist’s comeback after being involved in drugs that many Korean stars lack a correct understanding of the dangers of drugs, and take chances on drug abuse and other behaviors, and then become addicted to drugs.
At the legislative level alone, South Korea’s determination to control drugs is not weak. Three laws including the “Psychotropic Substances Management Law”, “Narcotics Law” and “Marijuana Management Law” were enacted very early, and they were merged into the “Drug Control Law” in 2000. Management Law. The management law has been amended many times since then, and the punishment for drug crimes is not soft: taking drug abuse as an example, in China, the first-time drug abuse violates the “Public Security Management Punishment Law”; in South Korea, as long as drug abuse is sure to be subject to criminal punishment .
Unfortunately, strictness in legislation is no match for choice in enforcement. For this phenomenon, South Korean President Yin Xiyue, who was a prosecutor, was deeply touched. In his view, South Korea was a country that did not have a drug problem more than ten years ago, but the distribution of anti-drug work between the prosecutors and the police was unbalanced, which led to unsmooth cooperation between the two parties, and ultimately led to a decline in work efficiency.

Buying drugs is as easy as buying them online

Today, South Korea’s drug problem is getting worse. The younger age, technology, and participation of a large number of foreigners have troubled the South Korean police. Almost all drug-related statistics are on the rise.
In October last year, the Korea Crime Research Institute released data: In the past ten years, the number of drug-related crimes involving foreigners in South Korea has increased by 6.5 times, from 359 in 2012 to 2,335 in 2021, and the nationalities involved are also different. The number of countries has increased to 71 countries; the proportion of serious crimes of drug trafficking has increased significantly, with an average of less than 5 foreign drug-related personnel, one is a drug dealer.
This also reflects from the side that transnational drug trafficking groups are paying more and more attention to the Korean “market”. In 2022, South Korean prosecutors seized 1,295.7 kilograms of drugs, a record high, which is more than three times that of the previous year. Common drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana are all involved.

On August 11, 2022, Incheon International Airport, South Korea, drug detection dogs are demonstrating drug detection skills

According to two surveys quoted by South Korea’s “Asia Daily”, the number of drug crimes in South Korea’s “MZ generation” (that is, the millennial generation and the Z generation, born between 1980 and 2000) has increased by 160% in the past five years; 2018 Over the past year, among South Korean drug offenders, the number of students has increased by 2.5 times, far exceeding the overall 1.3 times.
In a certain case, it was an 18-year-old high school student who hid behind the computer and directed the remote control. He sells drugs to specific groups of people in a semi-public manner on social software, and his drugs are obtained from the online hands of overseas drug trafficking groups.
Thanks to the blessing of the Internet, this high school student gathered a group of drug traffickers around his age and easily built a complete drug trafficking organization. As of the end of 2019, more than 21.7% of drug dealers sold drugs through the Internet. As more and more “MZ generation” are involved in drugs, this proportion may continue to increase.
A large number of young people involved in drugs is not unrelated to the development of South Korea’s nightclub culture. From a social perspective, the ever-increasing housing prices and the reality that it is difficult to achieve a class leap have made young Koreans breathless. The dim lights and dynamic music in the nightclub weave a blurred dream together, allowing them to get rid of their troubles temporarily; with the help of the special environment of the nightclub, some drug dealers also extended their poisonous hands to young people who came to seek pleasure.
On the other hand, many well-known entertainers are regulars at nightclubs. They are more likely to be exposed to drugs than the general population. Aoao said that his place of work is located in the bustling area of ​​Gangnam District, Seoul, and he has witnessed famous artists entering and leaving nightclubs more than once. Once these influential artists are involved in drugs, as “bad role models”, they will inevitably influence more young people in a subtle way.
The “White Paper on Drug Crime” released by the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office in South Korea in 2021 shows that the number of drug crimes in South Korea has remained at more than 10,000 for many years, which has almost doubled compared with ten years ago. The situation of drug crimes is quite severe. It is no wonder that some South Korean netizens joked that the growth rate of drug dealers is much higher than the national population growth rate.
Yonhap News Agency reported that as long as you open the website and search for drugs or related code words, you can easily retrieve countless related posts, and buyers and sellers do not need to meet at all, so that “buying drugs is as simple as online shopping.”
Rehabilitation is underestimated

At the end of 2013, the Korean boy group EXO’s new album “December’s Miracle” was released with the same title, and it immediately topped the real-time charts of multiple music websites. The affectionate interpretation of the group members in the MV has won screams from fans.
That was the era when the Hallyu swept across Asia. Since the South Korean government formally proposed the “Cultural Nation” strategy in 1998, the “white, young and thin” aesthetic has firmly occupied the mainstream public opinion in South Korea, even male stars.
The graceful figure in the MV and on TV makes young Koreans with dreams of stardom envious. Driven by morbid aesthetics, South Korea, whose obesity rate is far below the world average, took the world’s top weight-loss pills.

In 2020, ingredients such as methamphetamine were detected in 57 sewage treatment plants across South Korea. The picture shows the fountain of Banpo Bridge in South Korea

Some South Korean netizens laughed at themselves and said that the growth rate of drug dealers is much higher than the national population growth rate.

When young Koreans put colorful drugs into their mouths, they would not have thought that they had unknowingly planted the seeds of drug abuse in their bodies—and the music of “December Miracle” producer, would be arrested years later for drug use and possession.
Kim Young-ho, a professor at the Department of Addiction Rehabilitation and Social Welfare at Ulchi University, told The Korea Herald that many drug addicts start with abusing prescription drugs. Among the common weight-loss drugs, phentermine and other four drugs are psychotropic drugs that can control appetite. Because of their hallucinogenic effects and certain addictive properties, they are banned in many countries to varying degrees, but they are highly accepted in South Korea. Patients and even addicts can easily get prescriptions from hospitals.
The South Korean Supreme Prosecutor’s Office pointed out in a report that among the people in the country, the problem of abuse of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances is very serious. According to the agency’s estimates, from July 2018 to June 2019, 17.86 million patients were prescribed narcotic/psychotropic drugs, equivalent to 1 out of every 3 Koreans. Already 7.73 million patients have been prescribed phenols.
Abuse is so common, it is not difficult to understand why the Korean people lack the pain of the drug problem. In 2020, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety of South Korea adopted the sewage analysis method for the first time to estimate the drug problem: a whole year of monitoring found that 57 sewage treatment plants in South Korea have detected components such as methamphetamine, and about half of them have detected propofol, ecstasy, etc. Element.
According to the department’s calculations, the average daily abuse of methamphetamine in South Korea is about 18 mg per 1,000 people. Faced with the increasingly severe situation of drug control, South Korea still only focuses on combating and neglects rehabilitation. Korean media quoted people from the Blue House as saying that so far, South Korea has not established enough rehabilitation institutions for drug addicts; Professor Kim Young-ho said that the recidivism rate of drug crimes is very high. To completely solve the drug problem, punishment and rehabilitation must go hand in hand, but Legislation, budget and facilities are obviously insufficient in rehabilitation treatment.

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