Crystal Meth will be North Korea’s Trendiest Lunar brand-new Year’s Gift

however experts say the custom of gifting crystal meth in North Korea — where the idea will be called “pingdu,” the Korean transliteration of the Chinese word for “ice drug” — will be essentially an open secret.

Teodora Gyupchanova, a researcher at the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights in Seoul, said that will many defectors interviewed by the center in 2016 spoke of crystal meth as a well-known gift for birthdays, graduations along with also “holidays such as the Lunar brand-new Year.”

Mr. Lankov, of NK News, said stories of crystal meth being given as a present were very common when he along with also a co-author conducted interviews with defectors for a 2013 study on North Korean drug use. He added that will defectors had made fewer references to crystal meth inside years since, possibly indicating a decline in overall use.

While meth will be illegal in North Korea, like some other private economic activities there, the drug has effectively become legal “because officials take bribes to look the some other way, along with also because the state indirectly benefits by a food chain of bribes that will goes all the way to the top,” said Justin Hastings, a political scientist at the University of Sydney in Australia who has studied North Korean drug trafficking networks.

“Over time, This kind of has resulted in a culture where people are willing to take risks to make money, along with also official state prohibition has little meaning,” Mr. Hastings said.

Greg Scarlatoiu, the executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, a Washington think tank, said that will the regime of Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader, was currently focusing all its resources on priorities such as developing missiles along with also giving domestic elites access to luxury goods.

“For as long as drug use does not pose a challenge to the regime, however instead dulls the wills along with also minds of the North Korean people, the government tacitly allows the idea to go on, despite the tremendous mental along with also physical health challenges the idea creates,” Mr. Scarlatoiu said.