This report captures the main outcomes from an informal expert seminar on harm reduction in relation to the rising problems with the use of Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) in Southeast and East Asia, organized by the Transnational Institute, with the support of the Western Australian Substance Users Association (WASUA). The aim of the meeting was to have an open-minded exchange of opinions and experiences about the situation in Myanmar, Thailand, and Yunnan Province (China).
Marie Longo, Wendy Wickes, Matthew Smout, Sonia Harrison, Sharon Cahill, Jason M. White
18 June 2009
This study tested the impact of a long-acting form of amphetamine as medication to help control dependent use of the closely allied stimulant, methamphetamine. Prescribed usually for the treatment of pathological sleepiness or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, effects of the amphetamine tablets prescribed in the study take several hours longer to emerge than normal amphetamine and last three to six hours longer, giving it a 'smoothing' profile similar to methadone for heroin users; non-rapid onset make it less intensely pleasurable, and longer duration suits it to once-daily administration.
In the 1990s, Southeast Asia experienced a boom in the production and consumption of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), in particular methamphetamines (meth). At the same time, the region has seen a declining opium market, although the downward trend may well be versing now. How exactly these two phenomena interrelate is still an unresolved question. The ATS market seems to have its own distinct dynamics; for users, the availability and accessibility of opium and heroin have an impact on ATS use and vice versa, and some former heroin producers have moved to producing ATS.
Drug control agencies have called the significant decline in opium production in Southeast Asia over the past decade a 'success story'. The latest report of the Transnational Institute (TNI). based on in-depth research in the region, casts serious doubts on this claim noting that Southeast Asia suffers from a variety of 'withdrawal symptoms' that leave little reason for optimism.