Thu 28 Sep 2006
Filed under: Drugs,News
Sydney: The levels of amphetamine abuse in the Asia-Pacific region are the worst in the world, an Australian-hosted conference on drugs was told Thursday.
Eight of the 13 countries that listed amphetamines as their most abused drug were in the Asia-Pacific region, officials at the inaugural Australasian Amphetamine Conference said.
The regional director of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, Jeremy Douglas, said abuse of drugs such as ecstasy and methamphetamines, also known as “ice,” was an increasing problem in the region.
“A problem threatening Asia that is this big, is a problem for Australia,” Douglas said.
“The health of these countries is important to Australia as is the security of Australia in terms of drug supply coming here.”
He said 11 industrial-scale methamphetamine laboratories had been uncovered in the Philippines past 12 months, and 15.8 million methamphetamine pills were seized in Thailand last year, along with 4.7 million in Laos and 2.7 in Myanmar.
Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) expert Robert Ali described the amphetamine problem facing the region as “daunting.”
He said increasing economic prosperity meant more people were abusing amphetamines.
“It’s no longer just those who are socially disaffected that are using drugs but also a middle class that are aspiring to greater wealth and prosperity and, along with that, aspiring to the lifestyle and customs of devel-oped-world countries,” he said.
“When China can manufacture ecstasy tablets for under eight cents and they’re producing in quantities way beyond demand … it means the drugs are moving and they’re moving quite rapidly through the region.”
An ANCD report launched at the conference said Australian police were working with their counterparts throughout the region to combat the problem.