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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China-India Border Standoff Continues as Leaders Hold Summit

New Delhi accuses hundreds of Chinese soldiers of illegally entering Indian territory in disputed region of Ladakh More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
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.


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