The United Nations, in its latest global report on drug use and trafficking, says Asia is facing increasing trafficking and use of amphetamine type stimulants as well as a revival in the production of opium in Burma and Laos. A senior U.N. official says the illicit production and abuse of drugs is a growing regional problem.

In its latest global drug report released Tuesday, the U.N.’s Office on Drugs and Crime says Asia faces a challenge when it comes to curbing the production and use of amphetamine type stimulants, known as ATS, together with rising opium output and widespread use of cannabis, especially among the region’s youth.   Gary Lewis, the UNODC regional representative, says the rising trend of ATS production and abuse in China and South East Asia comes even though global production and use had largely stabilized.

Lewis says Asia now accounts for about half of the world’s ATS users.  He also says opium production is also soaring in the region.     “Of some concern to our region ATS, or amphetamine type stimulants. While its stabilized across the globe its increasing very much in our region in South East Asia and in China. There has been a resurgence of opium poppy cultivation over the past five years and soaring production, trafficking, use of  amphetamine type stimulants.

And this ought to be of concern to public policy makers,” Lewis said. The U.N. says there has been a “fourfold” increase in seizures of ATS tablets over recent years, pointing to a sharp rise in output.   The report also noted increasing use of synthetic and prescription drugs in Asia,  such as Ketamine, especially in China, including Hong Kong, Malaysia and Vietnam. UN: Amphetamine Trafficking, Usage Up in Asia

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