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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More