ASIA PACIFIC COLUMN: Drug production, trafficking and trade in Asia and Pacific Island countries

Authors

  • GARY REID,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Harm Reduction, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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      Gary Reid MPH, Senior Research Officer, Centre for Harm Reduction, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia

  • MADONNA L. DEVANEY,

    1. Centre for Harm Reduction, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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      Madonna L. Devaney, BPsych (Hons), PhD, Senior Research Officer, Centre for Harm Reduction, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia

  • SIMON BALDWIN

    1. Centre for Harm Reduction, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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      Simon Baldwin BPsych (Hons), MPH, Program Manager, Centre for Harm Reduction, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia.


Senior Research Officer, Centre for Harm Reduction, Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health, 85 Commercial Road, Melbourne, Vic. 3004, Australia. Tel: +61 3 9282 2192; Fax: +61 3 9282 2219

E-mail: reid@burnet.edu.au

Abstract

We report here on illicit drug production, trafficking and transit routes found in the Asia Pacific region. The report is based on the ‘Situational analysis of illicit drug issues and responses in Asia and the Pacific’, commissioned by the Australian National Council on Drugs Asia Pacific Drug Issues Committee. The situational analysis was a comprehensive desk based review; data sources included published and unpublished literature and key informant reports. It was found that Myanmar was the main producer of opium, heroin and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) in the Asia-Pacific region. China is now considered a major producer of methamphetamines, but other Asia-Pacific nations are also involved in production. Cannabis production was found throughout most of the Asia-Pacific region, in particular Cambodia and the Philippines. Drug trafficking and transit routes of Asia and the Pacific were proliferating and dynamic. The Pacific is mainly known as a trans-shipment point for drugs entering other countries in the region. Drug cultivation and production in Asia is substantial. The expansion of ATS production in the Asia Pacific region is causing much concern. Most drug traffickers change routes and tactics to exploit available vulnerable points along international borders. Responding effectively to the complexity and scale of drug production and trafficking in the Asia-Pacific region will remain a major challenge.

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