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22 May, 2018 03:14:06 PM
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Meth trafficking in SE Asia 'alarming': UN

Independent Online Desk
Meth trafficking in SE Asia 'alarming': UN
This photograph released by the Royal Thai Navy on January 25, 2018 shows meth pills seized by Thai authorities near the border with Laos. CNN Photo

The production and trafficking of methamphetamine in the Mekong Delta region of Southeast Asia is rising at "alarming levels," the United Nations has warned.

The area has long been notorious for opium and heroin, especially the so-called "Golden Triangle" of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.

But experts say organized criminal groups have invested in methamphetamine as a response to market forces and because it's easy to hide and move the laboratories where the drug is made.

The warnings about the escalating drug trade came during a meeting of drug and law enforcement officials in Myanmar's capital of Naypyidaw.Myanmar Deputy Home Minister Major General Aung Soe said a regional approach was needed to squeeze the supply of materials into the region.

"A top priority for us (Myanmar) is a regional precursor strategy that will slow the supply of chemicals and pharmaceutical products into drug producing areas of the Golden Triangle," he was quoted as saying by the UNODC.

The regional drug market for both heroin and methamphetamine is estimated to be worth around $40 billion, according to the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

While opium and heroin production in the Mekong is on the decline, some countries have already performed more seizures of methamphetamine than all of 2017 combined, the UNODC said.

Methamphetamine from the region has been found and seized in large quantities across the Asia-Pacific, including in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Record-breaking drug busts have also been made in Myanmar and Thailand this year, while authorities in Australia seized a record 1.2 metric tonne shipment of methamphetamine in December, though that was believed to have originated from China.

"Significant changes have been underway in the regional drug market for a number of years now," said Jeremy Douglas, the UNODC representative for Southeast Asia.

"Responding to the situation requires acknowledging some difficult realities, and agreeing to new approaches at a strategic regional level."CNN.

KK

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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