News / Asia

UN Warns of Growing Amphetamine Production in Asia

UN Warns of Growing Amphetamine Production in Asia
UN Warns of Growing Amphetamine Production in Asia

Multimedia

Audio
Ron Corben

A United Nations report on international drug trafficking is warning of increasing demand and supply of amphetamine type stimulants (ATS) across Asia, with Burma remaining the main source of production. But officials are also warning of the emergence of Iranian and West African drug trafficking gangs infiltrating Asia.

The United Nations, in a report on the drug trafficking trends in Asia, says amphetamine type stimulants (ATS) and other synthetic drugs are now "the primary drug threat", displacing traditional used drugs such as heroin, opium or cannabis.

The report released Thursday by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says in the past year between 3 million and 20 million people consumed ATS. The highly-addictive drugs can be made from pseudoephedrine, a decongestant found in over-the-counter cold medicines.

Organized crime

The report also said there is a growing activity of organized crime gangs, especially from Iran and West Africa, which are contributing to the widening drug problem in East and Southeast Asia.

Deepika Naruka, UNODC Programme Coordinator
Deepika Naruka, UNODC Programme Coordinator
Deepika Naruka, a UNODC official in Bangkok, said a wave of arrests of traffickers from Iran throughout Asia over the past two years had surprised law enforcement authorities.

"It's a new trend. It's just erupted within a year," Naruka said. "There have been so many arrests in so many countries that we need to find out why it's happening but we need to find out why it's happening but we haven't been able to pinpoint the reason yet."

Role of Iranian nationals

A growing trend of arrests of Iranian nationals attempting to smuggle methamphetamine in crystalline and liquid form has been evident in Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

UNODC officials say preliminary research says several factors lay behind the trend including poverty.

In Asia a trend of increasing numbers of people taking methamphetamines in pill or crystalline form was evident in Brunei, China, Burma, Indonesia, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Burma being main source

Burma, also known as Myanmar, remains the primary source of methamphetamines. There clandestine laboratories operate in eastern border regions under the control of ethnic armies and Chinese gangs. Reports put the total production of ATS tablets in Burma at over one billion a year.

Burma's military linked with trade

The UNODC says Burma's military is also involved in broader drug trafficking.

Gary Lewis, UNODC regional representative for East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, says corrupt government elements are likely linked with the trade.

"If you've got a mix of individuals and groups associated and some connected to the government involved in a region where there is such political flux and such a high degree of corruption which the Myanmar authorities would themselves admit - you are going to get individuals and groups on all sides of the political spectrum involved in the movement of drugs," said Lewis.

Drug agency warns

The UNODC also warned of the growing use and trafficking of ketamine, a drug used in human and veterinary medicine, in East and South East Asia. The UNODC says nearly seven tons of ketamine were seized in 2009, with around 85 percent of global seizures occurring Asia.

The report says economic liberalization and trade while raising local incomes has also enabled growing opportunities for criminal organizations, including production and trafficking of illicit drugs.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
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.

AppleAndroid