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

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs