Chinese media has re-surfaced news that the party drink Kawa Chao Yin (literally translated as Wow! Tide Drink) is possibly still available to buy and remains harmful to youngsters.
Circles on social media and micro blogging sites have sent around a “poison warning”, in order to caution friends and family of the dangers of drinking Kawa. Due to the fact that it does not contain any alcohol and is easily accessible by youngsters in places such as KTV bars, it has been said youngsters still “sought after it” due to its effects.
Such are said to be the same as taking party drug Ketamine (K), and people have reported that they can “drink it for three consecutive days”. The Ningbo Municipal Committee has commented on its WeChat official account that the drink contains the drug GHB.
GHB, or Gamma (Hydroxybutyric acid), is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter and psychoactive drug. It is better known in the west as “liquid ecstasy” or the “date rape drug”. GHB is used to treat narcolepsy and alcoholism; however, is also used as a party drug.
For obvious reasons, experts say GHB is not allowed to be added to food. Abuse of the drink could result in temporary memory loss, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and loss of reflexes, unconsciousness, coma or even death. Alcohol use in conjunction with the drug will aggravate the risk.
According to mainstream media reports, the drink hit the market in 2015 and became hugely popular due to the exposure it had on a reality TV show, whereby guests showcased the so-called “happy drink”.
After authorities took the drink off shelves, reporters found the product was still being sold online. Merchants sold it under the proviso of a “foreign formula product” for ¥350 per box. The drinks mainly went to KTV bars and clubs where they circulated rapidly.
In 2005, GHB was included into two different categories of psychoactive drugs. However, by 2007 it had been slotted into only one category and was banned.
Manufacturers of Wow! Tide Drink, Sichuan Tibet Industrial Co. Ltd. in Foshan City, Guangdong Province, claim they had the Foshan Municipal Quality Supervision Inspection and Testing Centre conduct tests that revealed the drinks met all 2017 food and safety standards.
The company also asserts that they commissioned internationally recognised Swiss inspection, verification and testing company SGS to conducts tests that revealed drug tests were negative and that the drinks did not contain such contraband. All attempts made by reporters to contact the company for comment thus far have failed.
On 6 September, speaking with the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Bureau, a reporter from North Green media was told, “As far as we now know, the product is sold in more than 20 provinces and cities nationwide, and most of the drinks that we have seized have contained the drug”.
While experts admit that the amount shown in the drink is not “particularly large” and drunk in small amounts is not harmful to humans, specialists also note that adding this chemical to any food in China is a clear violation of Chinese law and puts people at risk.