Officials of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the United Nations, and China say efforts to fight drug trafficking in Southeast Asia are working, and that Laos may soon be declared free of illegal poppy cultivation. But they want to see countries crack down on chemicals used to make amphetamine-type stimulants, which are manufactured in Burma and are spreading rapidly in the region.
After a three-day meeting in Beijing, ministers from Southeast Asia and China agreed to suppress the availability of chemicals used in such illegal synthetic drugs as methamphetamine and ecstasy. These chemical-based drugs are spreading quickly in the region even as the opium poppies that form the natural base for heroin are being eradicated.
Antonio Maria Costa is the Executive Director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, one of the organizers of the event. He says opium-control efforts in Southeast Asia have been successful, and that illegal drug cultivation in Laos - and then the region - will soon be a thing of the past.
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