News / Asia

UN: Meth Use Surging in Southeast Asia

Policeman guards methamphetamine seizure, Ayutthaya province, Thailand, June 2010 (file photo).
Policeman guards methamphetamine seizure, Ayutthaya province, Thailand, June 2010 (file photo).
Ron Corben

A report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) warns that production and use of synthetic drugs such as amphetamine-type stimulants is widespread and growing globally. The report identifies Southeast Asia as a newly active source of illicit-substance manufacturing and trade.



The report specifically identifies Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia as primary nodes of production and trafficking, but states that seizures of methamphetamine pills throughout Southeast Asia increased from 32 million in 2008 to 133 million in 2010.

It also says injected drug use is growing, adding to concerns about the spread of HIV and AIDS. UNODC regional representative Gary Lewis says production of amphetamine-type stimulants outside traditional sources such as Burma is also a new development.

“China and the Philippines are emerging as producers," he said, adding that Indonesia is becoming a potential source of ecstasy for the entire region.

He said strategies to reduce illicit drugs need to focus on public health issues rather than re-mobilization of so-called "war on drugs" policies.

"Things happen with respect to that phrase that are not helpful for public health or for public security," he said. "Containing the drug problem has worked over the past decade."

Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra says she will renew policies of aggressively combating illicit drugs by targeting criminal gangs and tightening cross-border commerce in order to stanch the flow of drugs from factories in eastern Burma.

Thailand faced international criticism over a similar campaign in 2003 that was executed by Yingluck’s older brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. During that crackdown, more than 3,000 people died and rights groups accused authorities of allowing extrajudicial killings. Yingluck says the current policy will also focus on treatment.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield, head of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, said new campaigns must learn from past experiences.

"One rule we obviously have learned is that combating drugs must be done in a way that respects the rights, needs, hopes and aspirations of the communities that we are serving," he said.

Programs of eradication and crop substitution have led to sharp reductions illicit-drug output in Thailand, Laos and Burma, the so-called “golden triangle” of opium and heroin production.

Brownfield added that Afghanistan, which eclipsed Burma as the world's largest producer of opium in 1992, is already in crosshairs of international authorities.

"As Afghanistan comes under increasing pressure to reduce its production and export of illicit drugs," he said, "drug-trafficking gangs will look to another country to produce and export drugs and the most logical country in this region of Asia is Burma."

The report also says that on a global basis, amphetamine-type stimulants are now the second most widely used illicit drugs after cannabis.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid