A senior government official has admitted that Burma’s efforts to stem the growing problem of narcotic drugs are showing no signs of success.
Speaking at a meeting of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control in Naypyidaw on Tuesday, Home Affairs Minister Lieutenant-General Kyaw Swe said the country’s drug problem continues to worsen, despite the government’s endeavours over many years.
“Despite painstaking efforts by generations of governments to eliminate the dangers of drugs, the issue with narcotics is found to be worsening,” he said.
Citing suggestions made in April during the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs, he added that the government plans to come up with drug policies to tackle the issue “from various angles”.
“The government will work on introducing a new policy on drug control,” he said, without providing any further details.
Burma’s upper house of parliament recently passed a proposal urging the government to action to effectively combat drug production and trafficking across the country.
Burma is one of the world’s leading producers of illicit drugs. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), it is second only to Afghanistan as a source of opium, producing 14 percent of the world’s supply. It is also a major supplier of methamphetamines, most of it consumed domestically or in neighbouring countries.
According to UNODC figures cited by Kyaw Swe, drug consumption in Burma has also reached crisis proportions in recent years.
“The 2016 World Drugs Report says that one in 20 adults has taken drugs, which is a record high rate in the past four years,” he said at the meeting.