The Burma-Laos border is mostly unguarded. The terrain is rugged and hostile, where the drug trade flourishes in lawless enclaves on both sides of the river.
Opium cultivation remains a lucrative source of income for many farmers, but the illegal industry is facing renewed scrutiny in the Asia-Pacific region.
Burmese police hosted a drug-burning ceremony on Friday morning at a truck terminal in Hlaing Tharyar, in the western suburbs of Rangoon.
Organised crime businesses in ASEAN countries is in the order of US$100 billion per year – that is no less than the combined economies of Brunei, Cambodia and Laos.
In villages across northern Shan State, addiction is destroying communities.
KWAT reports that the escalation of drug abuse in Kachin State is fuelled by the ongoing conflict in the region.