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China, Southeast Asia Vow More Better Drug War

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #784)
Politics & Advocacy

At a meeting in Myanmar Thursday, China and five Southeast Asian nations vowed to redouble their efforts and boost cooperation in an effort to get a grip on illegal drug use and trafficking, which they called "a significant threat" to the region.

opium poppy (UNODC)
China was joined by Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam), along with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), for the Ministerial Meeting of the Signatory Countries to the 1993 Memorandum of Understanding on Drug Control in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region.

"Consumption and production of narcotic drugs continues to grow rapidly within the region and worldwide, constituting a significant threat to the East Asian region," according to a joint statement adopted at the meeting.

The countries and the UNODC pledged to heighten cross-border cooperation, examine alternative development programs, and share experiences in drug treatment, prevention, and public awareness.

"This agreement marks the continued commitment of the six MOU countries in supporting drug control in the region, and the celebration of 20 years of partnership and collaboration," said Myanmar representative Home Affairs Minister Lt. Gen. Ko Ko at the signing ceremony. "The MOU Member States re-affirm our commitment and assure the international community of our efforts to eliminate the drug problem in our region."

Southeast Asia has been a hotbed of methamphetamine production in recent years, and Myanmar is now the world's second largest producer of opium -- although its production is only about one-tenth that of world leader Afghanistan.

"Major challenges persist," said John Sandage, UNODC director of treaty affairs. "The resurgence of opium poppy cultivation, the dramatic spread of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), the influx of drugs new to the region and increased levels of addiction. UNODC looks forward to working with the MOU states to implement plans that help us better understand the threat and challenges, build technical capacity and lead to greater cooperation across borders and among agencies."

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


mexweeds (not verified)

Reminder: a major cause of this "drugs" plague in Asia was the US-led suppression of the hashish crop in Afghanistan and other countries during the pro-nicotine Nixon regime (but Nixon himself didn't smoke the nicotine, just took their money).

Unfortunate that this latest statement doesn't suggest anyone yet is thinking about how to use RESTARTING a hemp and inspirational cannabis crop system INSTEAD off poppies etc. as a means to eliminate "hard drug" trafficking.

Sat, 05/11/2013 - 5:44pm Permalink
Opie O'Phile (not verified)

In reply to by mexweeds (not verified)

Illicit poppy growing and heroin production occurs because of a demand for opiates. Cannabis is not opium, two very different drugs with different effects. They cannot be substituted for one another. Look I want cannabis prohibition to end as much as you but let's not fool ourselves into thinking that legal weed is going to end the war on some drugs. 


Afghanistan turned to poppies after the Soviet Union practiced a scorched earth policy and destroyed all their domestic crops. Unlike fruit trees which require years to grow before producing product poppies grow in a single season and grow well on marginal soil, not to mention opium is worth more than any legal crop (thanks again prohibition). 


The world is experiencing a global shortage in morphine right now. The Afghan farmers could be contracted to grow medicinal opium. This will not end heroin production due to the balloon effect, but at least it would lessen the burden of Afghanistan's narco-trafficking problem. I saw in the news the other day that something like 20 tons of heroin and morphine was captured in a raid. They're probably going to burn it. What a waste of perfectly good medicine. Africa in particular is in desperate need of morphine for pain treatment. It would be a cinch to give that seizure to a pharma company to clean and turn into measured dosages, 20+ tons of morphine is a lot of medicine. 


Or we could seize that heroin, again clean it and turn it into measured dosages and give it away to junkies for free. No more junkies stealing for a fix, no more blood born infections, users could hold down a job, savings in criminal justice costs and so on. Nah, that would be too practical. 

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 2:03pm Permalink
Opie O'Phile (not verified)

These regions were growing and using poppy for a very long time. It was only until America exported its drug war madness that turned it into a problem. Let the people have their opium, more prohibition will not work. 

Sat, 05/11/2013 - 7:20pm Permalink
Paul Pot (not verified)

In reply to by Opie O'Phile (not verified)

Well said. 

Smoking opium is far safer than injection drug use and smoking cannabis is safer again. 

Legalize and let people have the safer choices.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 3:58am Permalink
War Vet (not verified)

In reply to by Opie O'Phile (not verified)

And we should never forget that heroin -on a large scale production that is, was created to kill communist soldiers in the Stan.  The only reason why 9/11 happened was because of the poppy plant's prohibition creating a multi-billion dollar drug network controlled by Al Qaeda and the Taliban (at least according to -well, everybody -not enough room to site global and national sources).  This explains why our Baghdad CIA/DoD/Iraqi prison held the Italian Mafia and Russian Mafia . . . the stuff goes from the Stan and then to Iran and War Kilos are far more cheaper in Iraq, than they would be in Turkey or Russia or even Thailand . . . maybe it has something to do with the fact war costs money no matter what side you're on.  Sadly, this explosion in drug enforcement in SE Asia will hurt India and the Philippines with more acts of terrorism being funded at top drug dollar, since more enforcement equals more illegal drugs being consumed and grown.  When will the people understand that Drug Legalization has very little to do with legalizing drugs, but everything to do with reducing war, genocide, terrorism, recessions, corruption, gangs etc.  The War on Drugs affects non-drug users far more than it affects drug users.  And yes Opie -to end it will bring about more opium and less heroin . . . I long to try it, but tar wasn't bad, but would rather do the natural stuff.


Of course Industrial Hemp would be good for any nation.

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 7:50pm Permalink

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