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Record number of methamphetamine pills seized in East, Southeast Asia

Anti-drug forces of East and Southeast Asian nations seized over 1 billion meth tablets in 2021, according to statistics announced by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crimes (UNODC) on May 30.

The UNODC said the "Golden Triangle" area, where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand come together, is a drug trafficking hot-spot.

Law enforcement agencies of the countries seized nearly 172 tonnes of methamphetamine, a seven-fold increase from the total seizures a decade ago, it added.

Jeremy Douglas, the UNODC’s representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said that the scale and scope of methamphetamine trafficking in East and Southeast Asia is a matter of concern.

Criminal gangs and armed groups have taken advantage of the political instability and the COVID-19 pandemic to increase their activity, he said.

Kavinvadee Suppapongtevasakul, the UNODC regional synthetic drugs analyst for the global SMART programme, said the drug's plummeting prices had made it much more accessible and available to those that could not afford it before.

The social consequences of increased use are significant, and health and harm reduction services remain limited across the region, she said./.