Controlling drug abuse and drug-related crimes remains a complicated issue in both Asia and Viet Nam, a conference on world drug trends heard yesterday.
HA NOI —
Speaking at the conference, held on World Drug Day (June 24), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Country Manager, Zhuldyz Akisheva, said that the recent UNODC report on drug trends had revealed that opium and heroin trafficking dominated Asia, accounting for more than 99 per cent of Asian opium exports.
Asia has developed into a major production and trafficking hub for ATS (undesirable dependence-producing substances), Akisheva said, adding that, in 2009, around 64 per cent of seizures worldwide occurred in Asian countries, a trend which seems unchanged.
Akisheva said that South East Asian countries were facing increased ketamine usage, a drug mainly used in order to ease pain in veterinary medicine, and not under international control
The UNODC report also revealed that seizures due to ketamine usage tripled over the 2005-09 period, Asia accounting for 99 per cent of global ketamine seizures during 2009. Hoang Anh Tuyen, deputy chief of the secretariat of the Ministry of Public Security's General Anti-Crime Police Department, agreed, saying that synthetic drugs, usually in tablet form, has caused difficulties in investigation and handling, due to it being mixed with other chemicals and mainly used in bars and discotheques.
Tuyen said that, although relevant authorities had raised public awareness on the bad effects of drug abuse and crime, the number of drug addicts and drug crimes remained high.
Ministry figures revealed that the number of addicts came to around 143,200 and included those aged between 30 and 45.
In 2010 alone, 14,000 cases of drug-related violations took place with more than 320kg of heroin, 30kg of opium, over 8,600kg of fresh cannabis and tens of kilos of synthetic drugs seized.
Tuyen said that Viet Nam would continue to co-operate with other countries in order to crack down on trans-national trafficking rings.
Currently, Viet Nam is under way to implement a national target programme on drug prevention and control during 2011-15. — VNS