UN: Rise in drug use in Burma and Laos | Connect Asia

UN: Rise in drug use in Burma and Laos

UN: Rise in drug use in Burma and Laos

Updated 29 February 2012, 17:27 AEST

A century ago, Chinese opium dens were getting through about 3,000 tonnes of morphine equivalent each year while in the United States 90 per cent of opiate use was for pleasure rather than pain.

Governments around the world were alarmed at what they saw as a growing risk to public health and got together to sign the 1912 International Opium Convention.

It was the cornerstone of the so-called War Against Drugs that really got going in the US in the mid-1920's and remains perhaps the longest running and most unsuccessful war of all time.

Drugs continue to be a health and policing issue and Asia plays a huge part in global supply.

The UN's International Narcotics Control Board has just launched its annual report for 2011 noting the rise in poppy cultivation in Burma and Laos, the increase in online drug shopping and large-scale trafficking of methamphetamines across many parts of Asia.

It also reiterates its position that legalising certain drugs will not help, saying there is no better alternative to the present drug control system foreseeable.

Presenter: Liam Cochrane

Speaker: Gary Lewis, Regional Representative for East Asia and the Pacific for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

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