20 February 2018

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10/15/2004 MYANMAR

As opium production declines people leave the Golden Triangle

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) –Opium production in Myanmar has fallen over the past 12 months and China and Thailand have hailed the reduction as a major success in the campaign to stamp out the region's drug trade. However, the local population which relied on opium for a living is now facing hard economic facts.

Poppy production in Myanmar's section of the Golden Triangle, which borders China, Laos and Thailand, is expected to fall 54 per cent this year, this according to the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Yangon. The decline is part of a long-term trend. Myanmar's opium production had fallen by almost 75 per cent since its peak in 1996.

As good as the story may be for some, its success has a dark side. Isolated under a military dictatorship the Myanmar economy was largely dependent on opium. Today hundreds of thousands are drug addicts and survive on international aid. UN sources say that disease and malnutrition are growing at an alarming rate and food assistance is inadequate to satisfy local nutritional needs.

"The population of the golden triangle fell by 60,000 [from 200,000 to 140,000], with the most people heading inland in search of a better living," Mr Lemahieu said. "Two out of three private Chinese clinics and pharmacies closed their doors and one in three community schools stopped operating".

The UN official stressed that "China and Thailand are planning to assist Myanmar's economic with specific initiatives but this is not sufficient to meet the needs of the population".

See also

15/12/2011 MYANMAR – LAOS
UN report warns of growing opium production Myanmar and Laos
Since 2006, opium production has doubled in Southeast Asia. The lack of security, political stability and sustainable development is the main reason for farmers to turn to the drug trade. The average price for opium in Myanmar jumped from US$ 305 per kilogram in 2010 to US$ 450 per kilogram this year. Thai model is a positive alternative to opium.

20/02/2016 12:00:00 MYANMAR
Burmese army and the police “preventing destruction of opium fields"

Pat Jasan anti-drug activists targeted: three workers injured by a mine, another shot dead. The group, affiliated to the Kachin Christian movements, has been banned. Myanmar is the second largest producer in the world after Afghanistan. Crops are a major business and a commodity of political exchange between the military and ethnic groups.


15/12/2009 MYANMAR
Child soldiers and opium cultivation, two faces of Burma’s dark pit
The authorities are recruiting children with money and food to fight rebels and use as security forces in next year’s elections. Surface used for opium cultivation increased by 50 per cent since 2006. With drug proceeds, rebels buy weapons.

09/09/2009 THAILAND
Thai Buddhist leader: violence in the South, fomented by drugs
Phrapromchariya, a monk from the Royal Kapungsurin temple, speaks out on drug abuse, which he defines a "national problem". Those responsible for the attacks act "under the influence of drugs." He invites monks to avoid being overcome by fear, the government must not think only of economic development projects.

12/09/2017 16:49:00 PHILIPPINES
Duterte’s war on drugs is unjustified, says Mgr Pabillo

The war on drugs “is nothing but extra-judicial killing". More than 12,000 people have died in police operations. Church outreach towards addicts and families includes relief and rehabilitation. Government figures about drug addiction are inflated.

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