News / Asia

UNODC: Asia Seeing Increased Amphetamine Trafficking

FILE - U.S. Customs handout photo of confiscated drug ya ba, which was discovered in a shipment of chopsticks, Sacramento, California.
FILE - U.S. Customs handout photo of confiscated drug ya ba, which was discovered in a shipment of chopsticks, Sacramento, California.
Ron Corben

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the 2014 World Drug Report on global drug trafficking Thursday to mark International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Asia has faced increases in use and trafficking of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), the report says, aided by easy access to key precursor chemicals from regional economies. UNODC researchers also say the region is facing challenges from Internet trading in illegal drugs.

According to researchers, Asia has also witnessed a rapid rise in amphetamine-type stimulant production in recent years, and the region now accounts for up to 50 percent of the drug's global users.

Tun Nay Soe, UNODC program coordinator for East Asia, says methamphetamine use poses a major challenge to the region.

"Methamphetamine — this is the biggest issue," he said. "From 2008 it was showing the dramatic increase. In 2008 it was just only 32 or 33 million [pills], but in 2012 we have like over nearly 230 million. And even though the data is not completed yet ... we can project it is not going to be less than 2012."

A similar trend is evident with users of crystalline amphetamine, also known as "ice," which is up sharply from a decade ago in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. Annual crystalline methamphetamine seizures in the region are at 11.6 metric tons.

Chemicals that are key to producing ATS-type drugs come from several regional countries, led by Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, China and India, where chemicals are diverted from legal to illegal trade.

The UNODC says around 243 million people aged between 15 and 64 — about five percent of the world's population — are said to have used illicit drugs in the past year. Each year about 200,000 people die of illicit drug use, with families left to bear the hardship.

Production of opium, the raw material for heroin, is led by Afghanistan, which in 2013 was saw a 36 percent increase in cultivation area to 154,000 hectares. The country currently produces an estimated 5,500 tons of opium, accounting for 80 percent of global production.

In Myanmar, also known as Burma, the world's second largest opium producer, the area under cultivation stands at around 57,800 hectares — largely concentrated in northern Shan state.

The UNODC's Tun Nay Soe says poverty is the driving force behind the Shan villagers' production.

"Most of these opium growing villages are in remote areas," he said. "For them to grow cash crops and sell [them] is really difficult because transportation infrastructure is not really good. But growing opium is totally different. They do not need to go out and sell this. The traffickers just knock on their door. As long as we are not able to address the poverty issues in Shan state I don't really think we will be able to end this opium cultivation in Myanmar."

The UNODC says heroin remains a major concern across several Asian countries including China, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

The other threat, says Tun Nay Soe, is through production and trafficking of new psycho-active substances and Web-based trading. The drugs are often categorized outside existing laws and little is known about the extent of their impact on the community.

The virtual trading in illicit drugs on the Internet makes it difficult for authorities to identify website owners and users who are a part of the so-called "dark net," which authorities say may be worth billions of dollars. 

U.N. officials say illegal trafficking in drugs is continuing to expand, often undermined by issues of inconsistent and corrupt law enforcement, and issues of justice and health.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

US Urges Taliban to Stay With Afghan Peace Talks

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs