Policy Reform Needed to Stem Burma’s Resurgent Drug Trade
The resurgence of the illicit drugs trade in Burma in recent years is the result of flawed drug control policies by Burma and its neighbors, a new report says. It urges regional governments to reform their repressive policies in order to better address the trade’s underlying causes, such as rural poverty, and the impact of a rise in drug use.
"The report by the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute (TNI), titled “Bouncing Back-Relapse in the Golden Triangle,” was released Monday and is based on hundreds of interviews with farmers, drug users and drug traders in Burma, Laos, Thailand, China and Northeastern India held between 2009 and 2013.
TNI said the increase in opium production in Burma, which grew for a sixth consecutive year in 2013 after seeing a sharp decline in the first half of the last decade, followed the implementation of “drug control policies [that] have failed to reduce consumption and production and instead led to more dangerous forms of drug use, growing human rights abuses and impoverishment.”
“The ASEAN strategy to become ‘drug free’ by 2015 is failing dramatically,” said the institute, which has long studied drug policy issues in Burma and across the world. “In the last decade, opium cultivation in the region has doubled, drug use—especially amphetamines—has increased significantly, and there remain strong links between drugs, conflict, crime and corruption.”