UN: “Scale and Reach of Narcotics Staggering”

A record one billion methamphetamine pills were seized in East and South-east Asia last year, the UN said Monday.

South-east Asia's so-called Golden Triangle has long been an infamous hotspot for drug trafficking, with Myanmar, Laos and Thailand's porous borders and lax local policing allowing illegal substances to slip across.

Some experienced researchers said that the trafficking countries included Communist China being primary source not Thailand or Laos as the UN officials suggested. With production facilities located in the regions neighbouring with Laos border, Chinese smuggle narcotics to that country, then to Thailand and further in Asia.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime said law enforcement netted nearly 172 tonnes of methamphetamine - approximately seven times more than a decade ago - and the surging supply has sent street prices in Thailand and Malaysia crashing to all-time lows.

The scale and reach of the methamphetamine and synthetic drug trade in East and South-east Asia is staggering, Mr Jeremy Douglas of UNODC said in a statement.

He said crime syndicates and armed groups had capitalised on the region's political instability and the pandemic to make dramatic gains.

While meth pill figures rocketed, the UNODC also noted a slight downturn in crystal methamphetamine, with 79 tonnes seized compared to 82 tonnes in 2020 - but still dramatically up from the less than 10 tonnes taken a decade ago.

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