North Korea is allegedly giving its construction workers crystal meth in order meet deadlines for a skyscraper project.
Project managers in the country’s capital of Pyongyang are providing their workers with “ice,” also known as crystal meth, in order to finish a project that includes a 70-floor skyscraper and 60 apartment blocks. According to The Telegraph, the project was approved by Kim Jong-un earlier this year in reaction to the sanctions placed on the nation following its nuclear weapons test.
“Ice” or crystal meth, is a form of methamphetamine that can be inhaled, smoked, injected or ingested. The powerful stimulant typically lasts six to eight hours. It is known to induce feelings of happiness and hyperactivity while suppressing a user’s appetite.
Hundreds of workers are involved with construction of the skyscraper and apartment blocks. Project managers hope that the drug will help laborers finish the project faster. A construction source in Pyongyang informed Radio Free Asia:
“Project managers are now openly providing drugs to construction workers so that they will work faster. [They] are undergoing terrible sufferings in their work.”
Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch deputy director in Asia, commented on the allegation:
“It’s going to be hard to verify that this is happening, but if it is confirmed then we utterly condemned it.
“[…] The North Korean government wants to finish these buildings to somehow prove that they are a developed country. But this kind of forced labour has been unilaterally condemned by the international community.”
North Korea has been producing meth since the 70s, when it was first sold as medicine. Methamphetamine is said to be produced by underpaid chemists in state-run facilities in North Korea. The drug is sold both domestically and internationally as a source of revenue for the isolated state.