Bangkok drug addicts have for years been provided with a near-endless supply of heroin from Khun Sa's Shan state in northern Burma. But since January, when Khun Sa called his warlord life a day, the price of heroin has soared. Chartchai Suthiklom, a spokesman for the Narcotics Control Board, says the price has increased from as low as 700 baht (HK$230) to as much as 10,000 baht per vial (about one gram). But dealers in the largest slums of Bangkok, where most heroin is sold, say the price has gone up from 400 baht per vial to about 2,500. 'We're now taking our lives in our hands,' an addict said. 'There are more deaths because of the low quality of drugs and crime is up because we cannot afford to buy it.' In addition to rising prices, a police crackdown has pushed dealers further underground. A dealer in Patpong, Bangkok's main red-light district, said his supplier has been jailed after 20 years in the business. He said two of his friends recently died after injecting a bad batch of heroin. 'Now, if we can get it at all, it is of variable quality. Other areas in the city are also reported to be suffering from high prices and lack of supply,' the dealer said. As a result, dealers are threatening more price increases. 'In the slum districts, it is mayhem. People are turning to crime because before they could live comfortably on their addiction,' the dealer said. 'They have been used to cheap, pure heroin. Now, they don't know what they are getting and they don't know how to deal with it.'