Trends Analysis & Risk Assessment

Lack of data limits trends analysis and ensuing strategic policy planning.

Even though opium cultivation in Laos has been reduced significantly elimination remains extremely fragile and recent trends indicate a disturbing resurgence. There remains a continuing need to determine whether farmers revert to poppy production and also to evaluate the viability of their livelihoods after the cessation of opium production. The Lao Government agencies have been conducting a range of surveys and other forms of data collection on many aspects of the cycle of drug production and use. Data have also been collected in urban areas as well as in border regions through a data collection network built around provincial networks in each of the 18 provinces. However, despite the range of this network, data has only been collected in certain specific areas, with sporadic data submission in many provinces and districts.

There is a clear lack of recent data on a number of important topics, such as cannabis cultivation and use, HIV/AIDS infection in prisons and detention facilities or among injecting drug users, trafficking of human beings as well as precursor chemicals and the trafficking of other illicit or restricted substances. Monitoring drug use and trafficking trends are of utmost importance to assess possible new risks and to come up with adequate responses. Improving and consolidating of data collection systems will contribute to greater reliability in monitoring trends and contribute to identification of more effective policies, strategies and effective responses.