Southeast Asia is the second largest producer of opium in the world. It is also a growing market for amphetamine-type stimulants, especially methamphetamine, the top illicit drug threat in East and Southeast Asia, where seizures of methamphetamine in both
Referring to the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)'s Annual Report 2013, UN officials in Bangkok expressed concern that economic integration could accelerate the drug trade in Southeast Asia. They urged governments to reconsider drug control priorities, given the huge treatment cost. Every dollar spent on prevention saves up to $10, they said.
Heroin or methamphetamine, however, can only be produced using precursor chemicals – which often are not made where the drugs are, but are smuggled in from nearby countries. While Asia is the biggest source and market for precursor chemicals used to make illicit drugs, neither Afghanistan nor Myanmar, the world’s no. 1 and no. 2 heroin producers, produce acetic anhydride, the chemical necessary to produce heroin from raw opium, said Jeremy Douglas, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Representative, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.