YANGON, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar vowed Friday to further boost cooperation with Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries in combating drugs.
Kyaw Kyaw Min, deputy police chief of the Ministry of Home Affairs, said in an interview with Xinhua that together with China, Laos and Thailand, Myanmar has scored achievements in anti-drug drive over the past few years.
The anti-drug operation along the Mekong River, which was launched in 2012-13, is now attracting Vietnam and Cambodia to participate, he said.
Under the Mekong cooperation program, a large amount of precursor chemicals were seized in Namhsam, Myanmar's Shan state and over 21 million stimulants in Kutkai last week, the deputy police chief said.
He cited figures of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as saying that 80 percent of narcotics are produced from Afghanistan, while only 20 percent are now from the triangle areas of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.
Opium production once registered a drop in 2007, but it went up in 2014 and in 2015-16; it fell again slightly. If negotiations with the six armed groups are successful, drug problem will be solved and the country will develop with momentum, he noted.
Recounting opium cultivation areas in Myanmar, he said Chin, Kachin, Kayah and Sagaing regions and states grow less for home use while in Shan state, there are commercial production.
UNODC and Myanmar have been traditionally cooperating in conducting constant seasonal joint survey on drug yield.
Moreover, he pointed out that there are young drug addicts not only in Myanmar, but also in every other country in the world, extensively using stimulants.
Seeing that punishing drug users cannot work, Myanmar is taking a prevention approach, encouraging them to be absorbed in sports by setting up sports villages as an alternative, he added.
According to the police official, there were drug-related cases annually in Myanmar with 6,414 in 2015 and 3,244 as of May 2016. Drug seizures were 168 kg heroin, 800 kg opium and 49 million stimulants in 2015, while 100 kg heroin, 100 kg opium and 43 million stimulants as of May 2016.
The seizure from May 1 to June 9 alone, which was made under the 100-day program since the new government took office, was five times the normal amount confiscated. The arrest of 311 drug users and 300 drug distributors within the 40 days in Yangon can be said to have crushed the key user force, according to him.
To mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Myanmar authorities is launching a 100-day program, selecting Yangon and Mandalay as priority areas for cracking down on drug trafficking.
The campaign period was set as from May 1 to the end of July which is being run in two phases - curbing and then education.