In 2012 seizures of meth pills in the region rose 59% from the year before and more than seven-fold increase compared with 2008, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) states in a new report.
The East and Southeast Asian region is home to about one-third of the global population.
Called “yaba” (i.e., “crazy medicine”) in Thailand, meth has become a major public health issue as it is used both for partying and a pick-me-up for working long hours.
The most pills were seized in China (102.2 million), Thailand (95.3 million), and Myanmar (18.2).
Methamphetamine pill seizures more than tripled in Myanmar, more than doubled in Laos, increased by 93% in Thailand and 25% in China, according to the report.
The same trends are seen in regards to crystal meth, as seizures in 2012 increased by more than 12-fold in Myanmar, 91% in Hong Kong, 75% in Indonesia, 75% in Cambodia, 33% in Japan, and 29% in Thailand.
UNODC regional analyst Shawn Kelley, who said data suggest the trend has continued into 2013, said the “huge spike” has been partly caused by soaring production in Myanmar and the continued smuggling of drugs from elsewhere.
Here’s a look at how the drug arrives from Africa.
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