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Going to Cambodia
Cannabis, Alcohol, Benzodiazepines & Opioids
Citation:   Fleming. "Going to Cambodia: An Experience with Cannabis, Alcohol, Benzodiazepines & Opioids (exp116121)". Erowid.org. Mar 21, 2022. erowid.org/exp/116121

 
BODY WEIGHT: 70 lb
Substances: Marijuana, Alcohol (wine, beer, absinthe, champagne, spirits), Codeine, Promethazine, Dihydrocodeine, Ethylmorphine, Methamphetamine (ice), Methamphetamine (yaba), Heroin (#4), Diazepam, Bromazepam, Alprazolam, Lorazepam, Sex, Meditation, Music

When Donald Trump won the 2016 US presidential election, I was sitting on a beach in Cambodia. Most of Southeast Asia is in Indochina Time Zone, which is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, so it was mid-morning or early-afternoon for me while it was late at night in New York... I had champagne in my hand and I was drinking it straight out of the bottle. Cambodia used to be a French colony (some French people seem to think it still is one), which is why they have a low import duty on wine, and good French stuff is readily available. I'm American, but I left that failing country a long time ago, so I was interested in the election results more for sport than anything else. People stopped and asked me if I was drinking to celebrate Trump's victory or to block out the pain of it - I responded honestly "Neither, I just like wine".

"Going to Cambodia" has become a sort of personal slang term I use as a euphemism for "getting completely wasted and developing a habit for multiple drugs very rapidly".
"Going to Cambodia" has become a sort of personal slang term I use as a euphemism for "getting completely wasted and developing a habit for multiple drugs very rapidly".
I've been to the country several times, and each time I stay one or two months, then jet off to a country where I can't get any drugs (like Malaysia) and proceed to experience a relatively mild few days of withdrawal from everything at once. Here is a *very partial* overview of what I experienced.

Marijuana:
The quality is not great, but it's dirt cheap. Marijuana is NOT legal in Cambodia, but nobody gives a damn. It is actually a traditional ingredient in some local dishes, and there are the (in)famous 'Happy Pizza' places which serve the tasty Italian food with weed baked into the crust and/or the cheese. Some people say that they get completely baked from a slice or two, but I've had a very high tolerance for a very long time, so it doesn't do much for me. Also, I should note that NO edibles have ever been stronger than just smoking the weed (in my own personal experience - yours may be totally opposite). I treated the pizzas as a novelty and usually just asked to buy the weed straight from the restaurant owners. Many of these 'Happy Pizza' joints have been demolished in recent years, along with whole blocks of mom n' pop shops and small, locally owned hotels.

One day, I was riding a rented motorbike when I was stopped by a police officer at a small checkpoint near the docks. I should have had the sense to keep on rolling, but I was new to Southeast Asia at that time, and I pulled over like a good boy. I had about a half-ounce of weed in my underwear. The cop asked me for my license. In Southeast Asia, you don't really need a license to drive, plus the process of getting one is more expensive and time consuming than its worth. You just roll through the checkpoints, don't make eye-contact, and if they do stop you the bribe should never exceed $15-20. The cop frowned and pretended that my lack of a driver's license was somehow "shocking" to him, and then he asked me if I had any marijuana on me. Of course, I said "No sir", to which he adroitly replied: "How much money will you give me?" I had a $5 and a $50 bill in my wallet, and I was worried he'd be really pissed off if I gave him the $5, so I wasted $50 and hit the road. I drove to a nearby national park, found an extremely secluded spot, and proceeded to smoke the entire half-ounce to the head - joint after joint after joint...

Generally speaking, most bars and clubs are pretty cool in Cambodia and I can smoke weed as long as I'm not blowing it in the bouncer's face.

Alcohol:
As I've mentioned, good wine is available. Beer is almost comically cheap (some bars even have FREE happy hour, to draw people in). Absinthe and other exotic liquors are not difficult to find. I'm a musician, so I almost never pay for beer at bars. Too bad they don't have live music at the liquor stores, because then the rest of the alcohol would be free too...

Codeine:
This very mild painkiller is available over the counter, without the hassle or degrading experience of begging a doctor for a prescription. In Cambodia, you are treated as an adult and expected to face consequences for your own decisions. In my case, I absolutely love this situation as I have legitimate chronic pain (see my previous reports about kratom). There is no limit on how much codeine I can purchase at one time, and if the pharmacy doesn't have it in stock, I just keep walking until I find one that does. Codeine in Southeast Asia comes in many forms, including codeine-only pills, pills with paracetamol (Tylenol) in them, syrup, and effervescent tablets which dissolve in water and kick in really quickly.

Promethazine:
I can buy a bottle of promethazine syrup for about $3, and a box of codeine pills for $5.

Dihydrocodeine:
Unfortunately I experienced severe nausea on DHC, waking up in the middle of the night to puke my guts out in the hostel bathroom. People asked me if I was okay, and I just told them I had eaten some bad food. People believe this, even though in reality it's not actually that common to get sick from food in Asia. I almost never have nausea from codeine, tramadol, kratom, etc - and perhaps today, now that I have a tolerance, I would be better able to handle DHC, but at the time I had come from America, where it's almost impossible to find appropriate pain medicine, so my tolerance was basically zero.

Ethylmorphine:
This pill was very pleasant. The effects were very smooth, with no nausea, a bit of floaty relaxation, and a great synergy with weed.

Heroin:
I have tried heroin three times. The first time, I actually found the dope in a public library toilet, in Colorado, USA. Somebody must have shot up and forgot their stash. It was Mexican Black Tar (aka Garbage) and it didn't do much. The experience was disappointing, as I carried the dope around for a few days, waiting for the perfect time to try it, and I hyped it up in my own mind. I slept very well after smoking it, but nothing more.

The 'China White' heroin in Southeast Asia is the REAL-DEAL. When I bought it in Cambodia and Laos, I made it very clear to the dealers that I was a working man and not a tourist - thus, they gave me good deals and won my respect as reliable sellers. This product is also sometimes known as '#4 Heroin', meaning you can snort it. I found the smoking (chasing the dragon) method to be quite adequate - I never injected it.

When smoking and/or snorting the #4 China White, I feel nothing at first - then perhaps a half hour later, I realize I'm very high. I was totally functional on it, went to work, had nothing but positive thoughts and the warm body feeling. I didn't do it again after the first few tries.

Meth:
There are two grades of speed in Southeast Asia. Yaba (ยาบ้า) is a Thai word, which literally translates as "medicine crazy" - the adjective comes after the noun. The 'Ya' (ยา) part can mean any type of medicine - 'Ya Norn Larb' is a sleeping pill, for instance, 'Ya Hom' is a good-smelling herbal medicine ('Hom' means "good smell"), "Kun Gin Ya Mak" (คุณกินยาเยอะมาก) means "You eat a lot of medicine" (this is what my personal physician tells me), pharmacies in Thailand simply have a big sign with the word 'Ya' in front...

VERY PURE meth, known as 'Ya Ice' (ยาไอซ์) is in a totally different league from crappy Yaba. Similarly to the #4 heroin, I don't even feel it at first - it comes on gently, the stimulation is very smooth, there are almost no negative side effects, and I can be totally functional on it. I tried ice in Laos and ended up writing a 40-page email! I once smoked some ice in Cambodia, met up with a British guy who had a couple guitars, and we did a show together at a great bar on the beach. The stage was on a wooden deck, about two meters above some big, black rocks, and the night-black water would rush up and crash on the rocks below us while we were doing the show. We were both singing and playing, alternating between solo sets and duo sets. I was sweating like a beast, and I drank a lot of the aforementioned free beer which musicians usually get.

After the concert, I made passionate love to a beautiful Cambodian woman at her small apartment. We had wonderful, very satisfying sex, several times, literally all night long, and then I went back to the hostel where I was staying, took some Valium, slept it all off, and I woke up feeling just fine - no hangover.

Benzos:
Valium, Xanax, Ativan, and Bromazepam (a strong benzo, but maybe a little less potent than Xanax) are OTC at Cambodian pharmacies.

One evening, I was smoking a joint with a Dutch girl at a hostel in Kampot, Cambodia and she told me "You really rocked last night!" I seriously couldn't remember what she was talking about - then she showed me a short clip of myself performing onstage at a local bar with a big, old-school electric piano. I had absolutely no recollection of playing the gig at all...

Tobacco:
I used to smoke cigarettes, I don't anymore, they're not cool - but they are comically cheap in Cambodia (even cheaper in Laos). Good cigars, including real Cubans, can be had as well but they're subject to the whims of the government's import quotas, and sometimes high-end cigar shops will have bare shelves.

Misc:
Various other oddball drugs pop up in random places in Southeast Asian countries. There are bars that sell nitrous oxide balloons for $1, Russian guys with suitcases full of ecstasy, and I've heard stories about Rohypnol, GHB, and other knock-out drugs being used to incapacitate loudmouth tourists, who later wake up with all their cash missing... Kratom is everywhere, real opium exists but you probably can't get it (the stuff sold on the streets is actually pipe resin - the trusted dealers I mentioned earlier told me this), cocaine is around but it's prohibitively expensive, and some people even grow gardens full of EVERYTHING (Hawaiian Baby Woodrose, Mescaline-containing cacti, mushrooms (yes, they really do grow in cow shit), Ayahuasca components, and even 5-Meo-DMT toads!).

Once, after a long stint in Southeast Asia, I went back to visit the USA. I was drinking a beer in the street, since I was used to being treated like an adult and all, but the cops actually arrested me for it! The first thing outta my mouth at that time was "How much?". The pig looked at me like I'd just landed from Mars! He was astonished that I was offering to pay him a bribe on the spot. He ended up writing me a ticket for something like TEN TIMES what the Cambodian cops charge.

Frankly, if I'd stayed in AmeriKKKa, I'd have had a heart attack, been locked up or beaten down during the George Floyd protests, or goodness knows what else.

To reiterate my sentiments: After a couple months in Cambodia, I would always make a deliberate decision to move on to a different country where I cannot get drugs (usually Malaysia). The withdrawal is a bitch, but it's not major. Benzo & Alcohol withdrawal are far worse than opioid withdrawal could ever hope to be - I expect shaking, sweating, mild depression, and blurred vision.

Exp Year: 2016ExpID: 116121
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 32
Published: Mar 21, 2022Views: 874
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Police / Customs (60), Various (136), Alcohol (61), Cannabis (1) : Various (28), Retrospective / Summary (11)

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