‘Alarming levels’ of methamphetamine trafficking in Asia’s Mekong, UN warns

Mekong 2018

IRIN/Sean Kimmons Research shows that injecting methamphetamine is becoming more common.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Organized crime groups in Asia’s Mekong region have intensified the production and trafficking of highly-addictive methamphetamine, extending the illegal trade into countries such as Australia, Japan and New Zealand, senior drug policy leaders warned on Monday at a United Nations-backed regional conference.

“Significant changes have been underway in the regional drug market for a number of years now,” Jeremy Douglas, Regional Representative of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told the conference, which opened in Myanmar’s capital, Nay Pyi Taw.

“Responding to the situation requires acknowledging some difficult realities, and agreeing to new approaches at a strategic regional level,” he added.

The conference brings together senior drug policy leaders from Cambodia, China, Lao, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam to consider the latest data, and discuss drug law enforcement, justice, health and alternative development strategies and programmes.

It also reviews the implementation of the last Mekong strategy that the countries agreed under the so-called Mekong Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Drug Control and negotiates a new strategic plan.

The Mekong has long been associated with the production and trafficking of illicit drugs, particularly heroin, but has undergone “significant transformation” in recent years, according to UNODC.

Opium and heroin production have recently declined, while criminal gangs have intensified production and trafficking of both low grade yaba methamphetamine – commonly known as meth – and high purity crystal methamphetamine, to “alarming levels”.

Several Mekong countries have already passed the total number of seizures for all of last year, just a few months into 2018, and methamphetamine from the Golden Triangle – the border areas of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar – is being seized in high volumes across Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, UNODC said.

For affected countries, the shift to synthetics like methamphetamine is particularly difficult to address; partly because the remote and clandestine makeshift laboratories where it’s manufactured, can easily be moved.

“Methamphetamine and heroin are currently estimated to be worth US $40 billion in the regional drug market,” said UNODC Advisor Tao Zhiqiang. “Effective coordination between countries is essential and the Mekong MOU remains the best vehicle available for this coordination.”

He stressed that law enforcement operations are part of the solution, but addressing growing regional demand is also important.

The Mekong MOU has provided a platform in recent years for the countries to agree to standard operating procedures for multi-country law enforcement operations, as well as a framework to exchange ideas and experience.

In a significant development, the Mekong MOU was aligned last year with the recommendations that came out of the UN General Assembly Special Session on tackling illegal drugs on a global level, ensuring a strong emphasis on reducing demand and the impact on health.

The recommendations also include creating alternative development programmes, to provide alternative means of income for communities where drugs are being made, and beefing up law enforcement targeting the criminal gangs at the centre of the trade.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

From Russia with love: Brussels and Moscow close to an agreement on Ukraine’s gas supplies

Meet Cipta: the comic book hero using her powers to tackle bullying in schools

‘Make healthy choices’ urges UN agency, to prevent and manage chronic diabetes

Tax Inspectors Without Borders making significant progress toward strengthening developing countries’ ability to effectively tax multinational enterprises

Commission caps charges on card and Internet payments and enforces competition

Another doomed EU attempt to interfere in Libya?

This is why Dutch teenagers are among the happiest in the world

New UN report on families in a changing world puts ‘women’s rights at their core’

Brazil: A strategic partner for the EU

At epicentre of Indonesia disaster, Guterres praises resilience of Sulawesi people

Genocide threat for Myanmar’s Rohingya greater than ever, investigators warn Human Rights Council

Switzerland to introduce strict restrictions on executive pay

EU budget: Stepping up the EU’s role as a security and defence provider

Water pollution is killing millions of Indians. Here’s how technology and reliable data can change that

Brussels enraged with Swiss referendum result to keep out EU citizens

A Europe that Protects: Commission calls for continued action to eradicate trafficking in human beings

Voices of Afghan women ‘must be heard at the table in the peace process and beyond’ UN deputy chief tells Security Council

5 ways the world is rallying around Australia as bushfires rage

Anti-vaccination scaremongering: What should we know about anti-vaccine argument?

This is how AI can help you make sense of the world

4 ways 3D printing can revolutionize manufacturing

Female directors reached record highs in 2019 Hollywood

Digital Single Market: Cheaper calls to other EU countries as of 15 May

Young people worldwide can ‘determine the future of migration,’ says UN senior official

2nd Global Consultation on Migrant Health 21-23 February 2017 in Sri Lanka

Is poor generational intelligence holding you back at work?

Hydrogen power is here to stay. How do we convince the public that it’s safe?

A roadmap for destination management in the digital economy

Japanese banks to move their European HQ from London to Frankfurt after Brexit

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Women in peacekeeping, the arrest of Sudan’s leader, updates on Libya, Nigeria and Syria

Climate Change : An Already Health Emergency

The drive for quality education worldwide, faces ‘mammoth challenges’

Eurozone: Subdued inflation can lead to more recession

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “No other problem has jeopardised the EU as much as the refugee question” Joachim Gauck, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, cries out from Davos

Intensified Al Qaeda and ISIL activity in Yemen ‘deeply worrying’, says UN Human Rights Office

FROM THE FIELD: Faces and Voices of Conflict

Nearly two-thirds of children lack access to welfare safety net, risking ‘vicious cycle of poverty’

Inspiring medical students to choose primary health care

Trailing the US-EU economic confrontation

EU-UK: A deal synonymous to ‘remain’, England pays the Irish price

Four ways we can fix economics in 2019

Investing in health workers yields ‘triple dividend’, WHO chief says in New Year’s message

EU budget: Boosting cooperation between tax and customs authorities for a safer and more prosperous EU

144 years on, Universal Postal Union meets to define its 21st Century role

New OECD work to support citizen engagement with governments

How storytelling can be a force for social change

There is a mental health crisis in entrepreneurship. Here’s how to tackle it

Can the EU afford a trade war with China?

European Banking Union: Like the issue of a Eurobond?

In Libya, Guterres ‘deeply concerned’ by risk of fresh military confrontation, urges restraint

Making the most of our ‘extra time’ – for ourselves and society

Vaccination: European Commission and World Health Organization join forces to promote the benefits of vaccines

FROM THE FIELD: For refugees and migrants in Europe, healthcare’s essential but a challenge to find

Does the world have strong enough institutions to handle risks like Trump and Brexit?

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Argentina Accepts KP Amendment

They have more than 30 words for “apple core”, and other things you didn’t know about Switzerland

To improve women’s access to finance, stop asking them for collateral

Young health workforce – a core of effective primary healthcare?

Migration and asylum: EU funds to promote integration and protect borders

Global health challenges require global medical students

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s