UNODC-SMART: Emergence of “Happy water” in Southeast Asia

BANGKOK, Thailand – May 2022: On 30th May 2022, the UNODC SMART Programme launched its annual report on “Synthetic Drugs in East and Southeast Asia – Latest Developments and Challenges 2022” in Bangkok, Thailand. The report provides an overview of the latest methamphetamine, “ecstasy”, and NPS trends in the region, highlighting recent changes in the manufacture, trafficking, and use of synthetic drugs.

In addition to new substances emerging on the illicit drug market in the region, the emergence of a new drug product was noticed, sold under the street name of “Happy water”. The product is typically sold online through social media as well as in entertainment venues in liquid or powder form and consumed dissolved in water or other drinks. “Happy water” products may contain a range of different psychoactive substances in varying combinations and concentration. “Happy water” samples seized recently in Thailand, for example, contained MDMA, methamphetamine, diazepam, caffeine, tramadol, and ketamine.

The effects of consuming drug products containing a combination of substances can be unpredictable and dangerous. Most overdoses, including fatal ones, involve use of more than one type of drug.

Photo: “Happy water” seizures

Source: Official communication with ONCB of Thailand, May 2022.

To assist the work of law enforcement, forensic drug testing and toxicology laboratories, UNODC provides assistance in the areas of quality assurance, provision of manuals and guidelines, drug and precursor field detection kits and handheld devices, together with training in the UNODC laboratory in Vienna and in the field.

For more information, please see:

UNODC, Synthetic Drugs in East and Southeast Asia – Latest developments and challenges (May 2022).

UNODC, Recommended Methods for the Identification and Analysis of Amphetamine, Methamphetamine and their Ring-substituted Analogues in Seized Materials (January 2006).

UNODC, Illustrated Disposal guide for the disposal of chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of drugs (October 2017).