Synthetic drugs, particularly methamphetamine, continue to pose the largest drug threat to the Greater Mekong sub-region, and their supply is growing, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says.
It says methamphetamine production follows the diversion and subsequent trafficking of essential precursor chemicals to clandestine drug labs.
'The emergence of new uncontrolled psychoactive synthetic drugs is also having an impact across the region,' UNODC said in a statement released on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday.
The meeting, attended by UNODC and ministers and senior officials from countries across the Greater Mekong sub-region, namely Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, endorsed a new strategy to combat the growing and evolving drug threat to the region.
It was reported in the meeting that the illicit cultivation of opium and related production of heroin also remained a major concern in the region.
Annual UNODC opium survey estimates show that opium cultivation in the Golden Triangle of Myanmar and Laos has tripled since 2006 to an estimated 762 tons of opium and 76 tons of heroin in 2014, making the area second only to Afghanistan in production terms.
The new Mekong MOU Sub-Regional Action Plan announced on Thursday addresses the growing and evolving drug threats through strengthening cooperation in several areas. They include law enforcement, including border management; legal and judicial matters; drug use and health matters; and sustainable alternative development. (ebf)(+++)