Myanmar is set to continue its drug elimination plan for five more years from 2014 to 2019 in accordance with an announcement by the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) early this year, picking up the momentum from the last 15-year plan (1999-2014).

The new five-year drug eradication plan will start in 51 townships across the country.

The Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) stressed the need to adopt a strategy that can create job opportunities for locals and to consider private sector investment in northeastern Shan State as 90 percent of poppy cultivation is grown there.

The committee has monitored over 6,900 tons of illegally imported controlled chemicals in 2013, saying the use of drugs including stimulants has been rapidly increasing among young people.

In 2013, the authorities destroyed more than 12,700 hectares of poppy plantation in collaboration with relevant partner organizations, accounting for 20 percent of the total of 507,800 hectares grown across the country.

Shan State is the center of Myanmar’s opium producing area, accounting for 90 percent of opium poppy cultivation.

In its drug elimination efforts, the government has also been implementing alternative development projects in the areas where poppy was destroyed in collaboration with ASEAN Police Force, International Police Cooperation (INTERPOL), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), National Narcotics Control Commission of China, Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) of Thailand and the United Nations Office for Drug and Crime ( UNODC).

In a latest development, the Myanmar government, in cooperation with the UNODC, will extend substitute project for opium cultivation in some townships of Shan State involving donor countries.

The project is being carried out in Mongnai, Mongpan, Pinlaung, Pekhon, Langkho and Mongton townships of Shan State as part of the efforts to ensure food security for opium growers whose opium cultivation is destroyed every year.

In its law enforcement efforts, Myanmar exposed a total of 1, 228 drug related cases in 2013, 276 cases more than in 2012.

During the year, a total of 1,350 men and 1,014 women were arrested in drug related cases, compared with 1,024 men and 179 women in 2012.

Most of the cases exposed in the northern Shan State were related to heroin, opium, stimulant tablets and pseudoephedrine.

In 2013, the authorities concerned and police force captured three opium refineries in Hsenwi, Kutkai and Kutkai townships in Shan State, according to the Shan State Anti-Drug Police Corps.

Myanmar is known as Southeast Asia’s largest opium poppy- growing country and the world’s second largest after Afghanistan.