News / Asia

UN Reports Growing Use of Synthetic Drugs In Asia

A policeman stands guard near bags of methamphetamine pills in Ayutthaya province, north of Bangkok, Thailand, June 24, 2011.
A policeman stands guard near bags of methamphetamine pills in Ayutthaya province, north of Bangkok, Thailand, June 24, 2011.

The United Nations released a report Tuesday documenting a significant expansion of illicit drug manufacturing, trafficking and use in East and Southeast Asia.

The report from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime urges governments in the region to increase enforcement, prevention and treatment programs to contain the growing problem.

Gary Lewis, the U.N. Office of Drug and Crime regional representative for East Asia and the Pacific, said analysts are most concerned about the growing popularity of amphetamine-type stimulants, or ATS, drugs.

Drugs such as crystal meth and ecstasy are now among the top three drugs of use in the 15 east and southeast Asian countries they surveyed, said Lewis.

“We've seen a five fold increase in the number of ATS labs busted within the last four years or so, We've seen a four fold increase in the seized methamphetamine seizures over the past couple of years.”

The growth of the drugs varies across the region. Investigators say Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines and South Korea have reported stable or declining usage. But there are increasing numbers of users in Cambodia, China, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam.  
The report also documents a staggering increase in methamphetamine seizures in the region, from 32 million pills in 2008 to 136 million in 2010, which reflects the expanding production of these illicit drugs.  And it says that in Indonesia, crystal methamphetamine has overtaken cannabis to become the primary illegal drug of use.

Lewis said a growing population of young people, unaware of the danger of these drugs, is increasing demand. Transnational criminal syndicates are meeting the growing demand with increased supply manufactured in areas where enforcement is lax, he adds.

Regional authorities need to go after the heads of these organizations and other professionals benefiting from the drug trade, Lewis said.

“Looking not only at arresting the dealers but looking at the bigger kingpin operations that are required, taking out the facilitators who are in many respects are lawyers and accountants, IT specialists, experts in trade who have supported the ancillary services of the drug trafficking groups.”

The report also says that, in 2010, there was a 19 percent increase in drug-use related arrests, compared to the previous year.

Lewis advocates better treatment facilities to help drug users end their addiction and increased educational programs to teach young people the serious health risks associated with repeated drug use.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid