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Countries Vow To Clamp Down On Amphetamines

Drug control officials from six Asian countries and the U.N. International Drug Control Program ended a regional meeting in Beijing yesterday with pledges to curb the boom in the consumption and trade in amphetamines, including Ecstasy and “ice,” and vowing to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS through intravenous drug use.

“All the countries of the region still have very important problems,” said UNDCP regional representative for East Asia and the Pacific Sandro Calvani. “There’s a growth in the spread of amphetamine-type stimulus. There is a growth of the vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. And these are really big concerns.”

In the last five years, the region has become the world’s biggest producer of the drugs ice and ecstasy, and now is also the world’s largest consumer of amphetamines. While in the past, most of the locally-produced drugs simply were transported through the countries of the region, now much of the local production is consumed within the region, Agence France-Presse reports.

“There’s a rather vicious increasing speed of exchange between the supply of these substances and the demand for them, which really, over the past five years, has begun to spin faster and faster,” said UNDCP demand reduction adviser Wayne Bazant. “Regional consumption (for amphetamines) is the primary consumption.”

Officials from China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam attended the event, which began Monday. This is the ninth annual event of its kind in the region, basing itself on a 1993 UNDCP-brokered agreement to increase regional cooperation efforts to fight the trade (AFP, May 22).

UNWIRE, 23 May 2002

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