(Only about 1,100 arrests were for cannabis derivatives.) Prepare even more for the trip by learning the 13 travel secrets only flight attendants know. One of them involved a 50-year-old truck driver who said he believed it would keep him awake during his long hours on the highway. Are you planning to take medicines with you to South Korea? Medication is generally prescribed by a physician and dispensed by a pharmacist. If you’re not sure whether your medications are legal in the country you’re visiting, always call the U.S. embassy in that country to find out. “Fake medicines are common worldwide and can cause serious illness or even death. Psychotropics, a category that encompasses LSD, ketamine and methamphetamine, are by far the most popular substances of choice – it’s the reason why South Koreans associate the word ‘drugs’ with needles rather than puffs of smoke. THE MEDICATIONS you know are generally available in Korea, albeit maybe under another brand name.Depending on the medication, you may have a choice between imported and/or domestic brands. “Simply having a note written by your doctor will not do you any good.”, Even a small amount of over-the-counter medication could cause big problems. “An aggressive border-control agent could fine or jail you,” says Garber. First, check with your prescribing doctor to find out if there is a legal alternative. If you rely on medications for attention deficit disorder, you’ll have to leave Japan off your bucket list. Propofol, an anesthetic IV drip, was classified as a psychotropic substance in 2011 after a public scandal and news coverage in 2009 escalated – some doctors were found to have unethically marketed the product as a “sleeping aid which helps your skin recover faster and cures fatigue” to thousands of women. Precious metals except for gold accessories such as rings or necklaces exclusively destined for personal daily use. Check out these 9 ingredients used in the United States that are banned in other countries. The third, less popular yet truly important aspect of planning your trip to South Korea would be to consider what items are restricted or prohibited from entry into the country. In 2014, pop star Park Bom, of the group 2NE1 made headlines with her alleged drug usage back in October 2010. “If discovered, your medication will be confiscated at a minimum, placing your health at risk. The application process will be straightforward and require no more than a few minutes to complete. I don’t condone what Park did, but she isn’t the only one to break, unwittingly or otherwise, South Korea’s strict ban on drugs. According to Yonhap News, 11,916 people were arrested in 2015 for drug-related crimes; 9,624 of them were psychotropic substance users or dealers. You’ll need to obtain a license to legally bring in your Ambien. As summer and winter weather conditions in South [...], Health tourism in South Korea is a growing trend. The importation and exportation of such items is restricted. male K-pop stars who show off freshly shorn scalps when re-entering the country; it can be a strategy for bypassing drug tests on hair) — but also ordinary Kims and Lees who make the news. [...], Incheon is the third-largest city in Korea and makes up an important part of the Seoul metropolitan area’s transportation hub. Once your eVisa is approved, come back to this article while preparing for your trip so you make sure to pack accordingly. The American push for opium control brought the Narcotics Act into effect in 1957, which was then complemented by the 1970 Act on Habit-Forming Medicine to deal with the surge in methadone and barbiturates use in the 1960s; the Cannabis Control Act in 1976; the 1980 Toxic Chemicals Control Act and Psychotropic Substance Control Act in order to cope with the superglue and butane gas consumption as well as the introduction of methamphetamines, respectively. (Amphetamines including Adderall – commonly prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder in the U.S. — are also banned in Japan). We recommend our users to update the browser. In the second part of Emily Singh’s look at drugs in South Korea, she will discuss myriad distribution channels and how the South Korean government is attempting to deal with the problem of expanding drug use. Travelers carrying a certificate of quarantine from export countries meeting local import sanitation requirements will be permitted to bring their products into the country, as long as there are no problems with these products, upon arrival inspection in Korea. Diphenhydramine—the active ingredient in this allergy med—is banned there; in Japan, you’re limited to ten-milligram capsules. Read our expert travel recommendations to help you pack accordingly prior to your visit. South Korea’s reputation as a drug-free nation is in danger. ), Jack was a Korean-American student from California. Check with your country’s embassy or look into your destination country’s health service. The police verified that she had taken only 4 of the pills, the singer pleaded for leniency based on her prior use of the medication while residing in the U.S., and eventually her case was dropped. Emily Singh is a translator and interpreter from Seoul. “With rapidly changing laws, it is always best to consult your embassy in the country you are visiting to know what you can and cannot bring into the country,” says Suzanne Garber, cofounder of Gauze, the largest digital network of global hospitals. Medical Tourism in South Korea: Do I Need a Visa? As a university student in Seoul, I was surprised to witness this shift. If you are among those planning a trip to this Southeast Asian country, it is important you are aware of their list of restricted items so you don’t run into trouble when crossing their border. Travelers from all over the world have South Korea on their bucket list. You can start by verifying whether you are required to carry a South Korea tourist visa. Many countries have severe penalties for possessing banned medications, including prison.”. More of her writings can be found at realkoreans.com. “Some countries that post medication restrictions will also detail the procedures you can take to bring restricted medications into that country,” Dr. Zegans explains. Many customers were in the performing arts or the sex industry and thus highly concerned with their looks. Medications that are classified as a controlled substance (narcotic) require approval from the Narcotic Control Division of the Korean Food and Drug Administration before arriving in South Korea and a letter or a prescription from a doctor is needed. “Don’t buy medication from street markets or unlicensed pharmacies,” says Tullia Marcolongo, executive director of the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers. Her writing has been featured in Working Mother, USA Today, and the Huffington Post. “Be sure to try the new medication for an adequate period of time prior to travel to assess for efficacy and any side effects,” Dr. Zegans recommends. (For the record, I declined all invitations because I have asthma. These matters are not taken lightly by South Korean customs officers, so much so, that in the event that a traveler is found carrying prohibited items into South Korea, the forbidden items are highly likely to be confiscated. Start reviewing your medications and trip itinerary at least two to three months before your vacation. We are no longer supporting IE (Internet Explorer) as we strive to provide site experiences for browsers that support new web standards and security practices. That was, until one night, a South Korean friend of mine called me and yelled “Emily! But much controversy trailed Park, owing to the the public’s lack of knowledge of and demonization of narcotics. Goods subject to the Fisheries Act and the Rules on Migration and Approval of Marine Animals and Plants. Whilst Seoul is Korea’s [...], Items restricted from entry to South Korea, health information and vaccines for South Korea, South Korean Work VisA: Types, How to Get and Application Requirements, What to Pack When Traveling to South Korea. On your way to Singapore? It is for this reason that travelers are advised to avoid carrying certain restricted items, whether they are entering or leaving the country. If you’re traveling to Japan and you have a cold, leave the over-the-counter medications at home. Prescription drugs for personal use may be subject to inspection or approval. It may also be possible to obtain your medication once you arrive at your destination. The maximum means of payment in a foreign or domestic. These “controlled drugs” require a prescription and could put you in hot water outside the United States. And among all the psychotropics, one that is most imprinted on South Koreans’ minds is methamphetamine – more commonly called pilopon (after the Japanese word hiropon).