Regional anti-drug policies exacerbating problem: study
The steep rise is opium cultivation across Southeast Asia and its associated problems over the past five years is being encouraged by draconian anti-drug policies instituted as part ASEAN's strategy to become "drug-free" by 2015, a non-government organisation says in a new report.
"The Transnational Institute said in the report, Bouncing Back - Relapse in the Golden Triangle, that regional governments should re-think their drug policies and instead manage the problem in the "least harmful way".
According to UN statistics, opium cultivation in Southeast Asia enjoyed a steady decline from the late 1998 until 2006. However, in less than a decade opium cultivation has nearly doubled, while amphetamine use has increased "significantly", the report said.
"The decline in cultivation in the 1998-2006 period was partly the result of the imposition of opium bans by local authorities, especially by ethnic armed groups in the northeast region of Shan State in Burma," the report said."