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Reuters-Amphetamines on rise in Asi
- Subject: Reuters-Amphetamines on rise in Asi
- From: tinkyi@xxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 20:47:00
Subject: Reuters-Amphetamines on rise in Asia, heroin major scourge
Amphetamines on rise in Asia, heroin major scourge
07:32 a.m. Feb 25, 1999 Eastern
By Rajan Moses
YANGON, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Interpol and drug enforcement experts meeting in
Myanmar said on Thursday the threat from synthetic drugs such as
amphetamines was increasing in Asia, but heroin would remain a major
The experts, speaking to reporters in Yangon on the final day of a
closed-door meeting on heroin, said the production of synthetic drugs was
steadily rising as the chemicals needed to produce them were easily
available in almost any country.
``What we get these days is an increase in production of synthetic drugs,
but at the same time heroin will continue to be a major problem,'' said Ian
Bain, assistant director of Interpol.
Part of the reason drug producers were moving into amphetamine production
was that chemicals used to make heroin had become harder to obtain and
transport without interception.
Ingredients for amphetamines, or speed, were readily available and the drugs
themselves less risky to traffic, he said.
In recent years, the drug lords who made Myanmar one of the world's biggest
producers of heroin have diversified into mass production of amphetamines.
Colonel Kyaw Thein, a member of the Myanmar military government's central
committee for drug abuse control, said heroin would remain a problem.
``As long as there is demand and benefit to be gained from producing and
trafficking in heroin, the drug will continue to remain a major world
problem,'' he said.
``Stimulant drugs won't outright replace heroin,'' Bain said, adding that
heroin seizures in Europe rose last year to a provisional 12 tonnes from 10
tonnes in 1997.
``It looks like we won't see any real fall in heroin abuse. There are a lot
of youngsters out there looking for a real hard hit,'' he said. ``Synthetic
drugs will run parallel to the heroin market.''
Referring to Myanmar and its role as the key producer of opium and heroin in
Asia, Paul Higdon, director of Interpol's Criminal Intelligence Directorate,
said Yangon had effective plans to beat drug production but needed help.
``I have no doubt in my mind Myanmar's authorities are willing to do this on
their own even if there is no outside assistance.
``I am walking away from here very satisfied there is political will on the
part of the authorities to carry out a balanced drug control programme. It
could be accomplished quicker if there is outside help,'' he said.
The controversial Interpol conference was boycotted by the nations with the
world's biggest markets for heroin -- the United States and most European
The United States and the Europeans said they feared Myanmar would use the
event to give a false impression of its drug suppression efforts. Some of
the conference absentees also linked their refusal to attend to Myanmar's
poor human rights and political record.