New Strategies Needed as EAOs Adapt to Changes in Drug Demand

There is both good news and bad news for Myanmar on the drug front: a sharp decline in opium cultivation and a shift toward synthetic drugs, especially methamphetamine. In the past 20 years, opium cultivation has declined to 41,000 hectares, a 75 percent drop from 163,000 hectares in 1996, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)’s statistics. However, the main concern today for regional governments and the UNODC is methamphetamine, mainly manufactured in the Mekong sub-region of East and Southeast Asia. According to the UN agency, “Myanmar is perceived to be the main country of origin.”

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