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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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