Lao authorities say their counter-narcotics efforts in the past five years have achieved the targeted goal of eradicating opium poppy cultivation. But recent studies show opium growers in some areas have returned to their former occupation, while more and more Lao youth have become addicted to methamphetamine.
Laos declared itself opium free early this year. But recent UNODC aerial photos show opium cultivation has re-appeared in three provinces, Phongsaly, Luang Namtha, and Bokeo.
Laos drug czar, Soubanh Sarithirath, also acknowledges that the use of methamphetamines is on the rise among Lao youth, aged 15-19 years old.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details.