Connect with us

News

Myanmar holding talks with Mekong countries over deteriorating drug situation

Published

 on 

Senior drug policy leaders from the Mekong region – Cambodia, China, Lao, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam– are in Naypyitaw, Myanmar with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) this week for a conference of the Mekong MOU on Drug Control to discuss the illicit drug situation in the region, and to negotiate a new strategic plan.

The conference brings together the leadership of Mekong drug authorities and over 100 senior delegates and experts to consider the latest data, and for detailed discussions on drug law enforcement, justice, health and alternative development strategies and programmes, while reviewing the implementation of the last Mekong strategy that the countries agreed.

“Illicit drug challenges are not only a national issue, and to ensure our recently announced drug policy succeeds we need to focus on the situation and implementation including with regional partners” said Myanmar Deputy Home Minister Major General Aung Soe.

“This meeting is a step forward, allowing us to discuss issues and priorities with our neighbours and UNODC, including improving law enforcement cooperation and standards for community based drug treatment.”

He added, “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.”

The Mekong has long been associated with the production and trafficking of illicit drugs, particularly heroin, but has undergone significant transformation in recent years. Opium and heroin production have recently declined, while organised crime have intensified production and trafficking of both low grade yaba methamphetamine and high purity crystal methamphetamine to alarming levels – several Mekong countries have already surpassed 2017 seizure totals only a few months into 2018, and Golden Triangle methamphetamine is being seized in high volumes in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia.

The shift to synthetics like methamphetamine is particularly difficult for countries to address due to the complexity of responding to remote and clandestine production that can be moved, but also due to the health impacts on drug users.

“Methamphetamine and heroin are currently estimated to be worth US $40 billion in the regional drug market,” remarked UNODC Advisor Tao Zhiqiang.

“Effective coordination between countries is essential and the Mekong MOU remains the best vehicle available for this coordination.”

He added, “Law enforcement operations are part of the solution, but it is very important the countries consider how to address continuing growth in regional demand.”

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, adapted and translated standards for community based drug treatment, and it has provided a framework for countries to exchange ideas and experience on a variety of issues and approaches.

Importantly the Mekong MOU was aligned last year with the recommendations of the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem or UNGASS, ensuring a strong emphasis on reducing market demand and minimising health impacts, consideration for alternative development programs for drug producing communities, and a law enforcement focus on transnational organised crime groups that run the illicit drug business.

“Significant changes have been underway in the regional drug market for a number of years now,” explained UNODC Regional Representative Jeremy Douglas.

“Responding to the situation requires acknowledging some difficult realities, and agreeing to new approaches at a strategic regional level. Here in Myanmar it means focusing on peace and security in the Golden Triangle and places where conflict and the drug economy are connected. Ensuring governance and the rule of law will be crucial to any long-term reduction in drug production and trafficking.”

He remarked further, “To be candid, it also means addressing the corruption, conditions and vulnerabilities that allow organised crime to keep expanding operations and exploiting the region.”

The Mekong MOU conference is followed by a visit of delegation leaders to Shan State where they will meet communities engaged in opium production and discuss opportunities to scale-up support programs.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)23 mins ago

Face masks still required on public transport, in cinemas

Cannabis News1 hour ago

Pattaya man attacked at gunpoint for selling cannabis

Crime2 hours ago

Police seize 60 suspects in online ‘Ghost Guns’ sting

Sponsored2 days ago

10 Best Seed Banks that Ship Cannabis Seeds Discreetly to You (Free US Shipping)

Thailand2 hours ago

Bangkok Secret Nightlife – Bangkok Red Light District Secret Museum

Coronation3 hours ago

King Charles III debuts on UK coins

Politics17 hours ago

Vladimir Putin officially annexed four parts of Ukraine

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Transport20 hours ago

Phuket Airport officials pulled tourist from van, insisted they use airport taxi

Thailand21 hours ago

Thailand’s strange laws – 10 strange laws in Thailand

Politics21 hours ago

The long goodbye – Which way now for PM Prayut?

Pattaya22 hours ago

Pattaya Police Chief cleared of vice slurs, back on duty

Tourism22 hours ago

Reopening Thailand has a busy activity schedule

Tourism22 hours ago

Today is the day! Full post-pandemic Thailand reopening

Pollution1 day ago

Garbage in canals is worsening flooding in Bangkok

Weather1 day ago

Hurricane Ian lashes South Carolina

Tourism1 day ago

5-star squatters evicted from Layan Beach

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending