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SE Asia

Regional opium rebound a threat to human security: UN

Published on Dec 18, 2013 8:29 AM

Opium production in the once-notorious Golden Triangle – where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet – rose again this year for the seventh consecutive year, a new UN report says. 

Opium production in the region had dwindled through the 1990s and early 2000s, to a low in 2006. But since then, the rebound – 22 per cent this year over 2012 – presents “a clear threat to human security and health”, says the Southeast Asia Opium Survey 2013 released on Wednesday by the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The report warns that criminal networks are well poised to take advantage of expanding transport and infrastructure systems in the Greater Mekong sub region – with the Golden Triangle at its heart.

Around 62,000 hectares – an area almost the size of Singapore – is currently under opium cultivation in Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, the report says.  By far the greatest increase has been in Myanmar, where the area under poppy cultivation rose 13 per cent this year to 57,800 hectares - more than doubling since 2006.

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