Asia hits all-time high in number of seized drugs
Arrests & confiscations continue to rise as production becomes more accessible within the region
Illegal drug production and trafficking continues to be an issue, especially in the regions of East and Southeast Asia. This is highlighted in a UNODC report titled ‘Synthetic Drugs in East and Southeast Asia: latest developments and challenges 2022’ that confirms tremendous amounts of methamphetamine being trafficked.
The number of methamphetamine tablets apprehended in the last year alone reached a staggering 1,008 billion, roughly contributing 91 tonnes to the overall 172-tonne regionwide haul of the drug in all forms. This number is seven times the amount seized a decade ago.
Jeremy Douglas, a Southeast Asia regional representative for the UNODC, has even went as far as stating "I think the region is literally swimming in methamphetamine." He also mentions that the supply became “super concentrated” in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and the around the Mekong River.
Apparently, Indonesia has acquired a taste for the drug, too. In early April, police in Bali detained four dealers along with their large number of illegal substances. The first two arrested admitted to receiving the drugs from their partner who runs a nightclub in the Seminyak area.
The whole operation, which took place in a series of arrests, amounted to the seizure of over 35 kg of methamphetamine, 32 grams of cocaine, 2,6 kg of marijuana, 7,38 grams of MDMA and 796 capsules weighing 151,29 grams, along with other substances.
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Though it seems to be the star of the show, meth is not the only menace in Asia.
On June 17, Singaporean authorities arrested as many as 146 suspected drug offenders in an island-wide drug bust that spanned two weeks. The Central Narcotics Bureau reported seizing a total value of S$55,000 worth of different kinds of drugs. Heroin, ice, cannabis, small amounts of ketamine and cocaine, ecstasy tablets, a bottle of liquid suspected to contain gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), plus new psychoactive substances were apprehended.
Singapore’s Central Narcotic Bureau continues to display its steadfastness towards upholding the country’s laws. “The Singapore Government’s stand on illicit drugs, including cannabis, is clear — they are harmful, addictive and can destroy lives, families and communities.” Worth noting that cannabis is categorised as a Class A controlled drug under the country’s Misuse of Drugs Act. Meanwhile, in Thailand…
The UNODC has mentioned that limited governance and low attention to the issue of illicit drug distribution and use in Asia is what makes it continue to spread. However, matters such as a country’s political landscape and the overall increased spending power of Asia’s youth has also contributed to the problem.
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Efforts have been made to cease meth production by cutting the supply of its precursors, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. However, it’s been said that producers of the drug have already found a way to make the two from legal substances, making it even harder for authorities to trace the production.
[Image: AFP/Getty Images]