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February 26, 2018

Drug abuse on the rise

A ceremony to lauch World Drug Report 2016 is held in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: MNA
A ceremony to lauch World Drug Report 2016 is held in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: MNA

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes has found that drug use and drug related deaths are on the rise. 250m people between 15-64 years old have used some form of drug in 2014, according to the 2016 UNODC World Drug Report.
12m people are said to inject drugs each year and that 14% of those who inject are infected with HIV. On top of that, UNODC has recorded an increase of drug use related disorders has increased for the first time in six years, 29m are now in this category compared to 27m from previous records.
Myanmar, China, Thailand and Laos share what is known as the ‘golden triangle’ an area that grows large amounts of opium and produces heroin, but over the years methamphetamine manufacturing has increased.
“In East and Southeast Asia, opiates and synthetic drugs, in particular methamphetamine, continue to dominate illicit drug markets,” reads the release.
Adding, “Areas under opium poppy cultivation in the Golden Triangle were estimated at nearly 62,000 ha, accounting for 22 per cent of the global total. Substantial quantities of heroin produced in the Golden Triangle feed the heroin markets within the region as well as increasingly Oceania.”
The report noted that drug treatment systems in South East Asia still lack the capacity to deal with the growing number of methamphetamine users, and that the number of people undergoing rehabilitation programs for synthetic drugs has increased in Asia.
Half of those receiving treatment in South-East Asia are suffering from opium addictions.
26 June marked the UN’s “World Drug Day” marking the first International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking since April’s UN General Assembly special session on the world drug problem (UNGASS).
Myanmar celebrated by burning Ks66bn (US$56.31m) worth of seized drugs, the bonfires were held in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon, Mandalay and Taunggyi. In the fires were 590kg of opium, 83.5kg of heroin, 41.8kg of low-grade opium, 123kg of marijuana and 10,355,844 stimulant tablets.
First Vice President U Myint Swe marked the ceremony as Myanmar’s dedication to ending the drug trade by saying that bringing peace to the countries’ borderlands will help curb drug production within it’s borders.
Myanmar’s previous governments have held drug fueled bonfires as a sign to the international community of it’s dedication to preventing the growth, production and distribution of illicit substances in it’s borders, after it was suspected by foreign governments that the country supported the production under previous governments.—GNLM


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