News / Asia

Report Warns of Increase in Amphetamine Production in Burma

TEXT SIZE - +

A massive increase in production of amphetamine type stimulants (ATS) in northern Burma has given rise to fears of a surge in addiction across the Southeast Asia region. As Ron Corben reports, the warning came in the release of the United Nation's Office on Drugs and Crime latest World drug report.

The warning came in the latest global drug report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that focuses on heroin, cocaine, and amphetamine-type stimulants.

China, the Philippines, Thailand, and Burma are the key sources for ATS drugs, especially methamphetamines, the report says.

East and Southeast Asia, especially China,  is a key region for the vast majority of drug confiscation. Across Asia, UNODC estimates between 4 million and 38 million ATS users.

In 2009, Burma reported a dramatic increase in ATS drug seizures from just one million pills to 23 million.  In Thailand, the seizure rate rose to 26 million from 22 million in 2008, while in China, the rate surged to 40 million from just 6 million.

Gary Lewis, regional representative for the UNODC for East Asia and the Pacific, says the increase is alarming and highlights conflicts in Burma's northern Shan region.

"These seizures reflect a dramatic increase in production in the Shan State," said Lewis.  "What we are worried about is the nexus of drugs, of weapons, of money that is moving around that region at a time when elections are pending and the political situation is quite fragile."

The threat of conflict in Burma between the military government, which is holding elections later this year, and ethnic Shan is a key factor for a massive rise in production of the amphetamine type stimulants raising fears that it will trigger a growing addiction across Asia.

Burma's Shan state and its special regions near the eastern border with China and Thailand are the main production sources for methamphetamine drugs and a main source of income for the ethnic Shan.

Chinese authorities have already reported large amounts of ATS stimulants entering its southern Yunnan province through its border with Burma.

Lewis says the Burmese government and ethnic groups such as the Wah have been successful in reducing opium production over recent years.  

But he says continued international support is needed to ensure regions remain free of opium.

"Just because an area is poppy free does not mean we should up stake and move off," added Lewis.  "For it to remain poppy free we need to ensure that we continue to provide options to farmers that have given up poppy and are taking a very, very tough hit as a result of that."

Burma also remains the main source for opiates in South East Asia of 330 metric tons although total output has fallen sharply in the past 10 years. Burma's output is dwarfed by the 6,900 tons produced in Afghanistan.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid