Amphetamine-type Stimulants Growing Threat in Asia, experts warnUnregulated synthetic substances also beginning to take hold
Bangkok (Thailand), 25 july 2011 - The seizure of millions of methamphetamine pills and tons of crystalline methamphetamine in East and South-East Asia in 2010 indicates that amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and unregulated synthetic substances pose a growing human security threat in the region, said delegates at a UNODC Global Synthetics Monitoring: Analyses, Reporting and Trends (SMART) Programme regional workshop held in Bangkok 18-20 July 2011.
In addition to the increasing threat of ATS in the region, "the emergence of unregulated synthetic substances is a growing problem in established ATS markets and beginning to take hold in East and South-East Asia," said Ms. Beate Hammond, Global SMART manager. "Gathering and sharing quality data is essential for the region to formulate a strategic response to the problem."
The Global SMART Programme Regional Workshop updated attendees on the implementation of the Global SMART Programme, shared information on the regional ATS situation and national responses, and discussed future regional SMART implementation steps including the data-sharing Drug Abuse Information Network for Asia and the Pacific (DAINAP).
Attendees included over 40 law enforcement officers, intelligence analysts, health practitioners, forensic scientists, donor country representatives and delegates from the 11 SMART UNODC partner countries-Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.
Representatives from INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization delivered informative and thought-provoking presentations on the latest trends in trafficking of synthetic drugs in East and South-East Asia.
Additional reports made by each of the national delegations detailed the manufacture, trafficking and use of ATS, particularly methamphetamine, and the responses to these threats in each country. Each report was followed by a lively question and answer session.
Most countries report the rising popularity of ATS, particularly among young drug users, as well as the increasing injecting use of methamphetamine. They also report the growing proportion of drug treatment demand for ATS users compared with other drugs, which in several countries exceeds 60 per cent of all treatment demand. The manufacture or attempted manufacture of methamphetamine is also expanding throughout the region.
The Office of the Narcotics Control Board of Thailand organized a visit for participants to Public Health Center 3, a drug treatment and rehabilitation facility in Bang Sue district of Bangkok, which provides outpatient therapy for users of ATS and other drugs.
The data from partner countries and additional findings gathered during the workshop will be highlighted in the Global SMART Programme's annual ATS report, Patterns and Trends of Amphetamine-Type Stimulants and Other Drugs, Asia and the Pacific. The 2011 report will be published this coming fall. The Programme also publishes the semi-annual Global SMART Update to provide regular brief reporting on emerging patterns and trends of the rapidly evolving global synthetic drug situation. In December 2010, the Programme published an ATS situation assessment on Myanmar.
The Global SMART Programme of the UNODC was launched in 2008 to enhance the capacity of member states and authorities in East and South-East Asia to generate, manage, analyse and report synthetic drug information, and to apply this scientific evidence-based knowledge to the design of policies and programmes.
The UNODC Global SMART receives financial support from the Governments of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and Thailand.