CHINA> National
UN anti-drug agency praises China's efforts
Updated: 2009-06-26 22:16

BANGKOK: China plays an important role in the drug control effort in East Asia and has shown some success in anti-drug measures in recent years, the regional representative of UN anti-drug branch told Xinhua Friday at the regional launch of UN's World Drug Report 2009.

"If things (drug problem) go badly wrong in China, we will have a major, major problem in East Asia, simply because China is of massive population and significance is larger than anything else in the region," said Gary Lewis, Regional Center for East Asia and the Pacific (RCEAP) Representative for UN's Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Related readings:
UN anti-drug agency praises China's efforts Cell phone messages aid anti-drug campaign
UN anti-drug agency praises China's efforts Trade road to Southeast Asia also a drug road
UN anti-drug agency praises China's efforts Six drug traffickers executed in China
UN anti-drug agency praises China's efforts Drug offences by youngsters up 10% in first five months

UN anti-drug agency praises China's efforts School drug program brought forward

He said some counter-trafficking approaches by China have shown some success. And China has been successful in fostering collaboration between its public health institutions and their counterpart institutions in the region, including Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, etc. he added.

Lewis made the remarks at the regional launch ceremony of the World Drug Report 2009 on Friday in Bangkok, following its global launch on June 24 in Washington D.C. by UNODC. Friday, June 26, is the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

According to the report, global markets for cocaine, opiates and cannabis are steady or in decline, while production and use of synthetic drugs is feared to be increasing in the developing world, including in East especially South-East Asia, with the estimated number of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) users in East Asia being 5,780,000 to 37,040,000.

Lewis said 102 ATS labs were busted in South-Southeast Asia in 2008, up from the 14 labs busted in 2004, an evidence of the expanding production of this kind of drugs.

When asked about the trend of ATS use in China, which is also upward according to the World Drug Report 2009, Lewis expressed his concern on this issue, saying that "what we can do is to work and continue to work with Chinese authorities, to share with them what we see as the trend in the region, and encourage them to work closely with their sisters and brothers in the most important community in the region."

He also saw encouraging signs in China of the willingness to consider effective substitution therapy for drug users, with mainly methadone being considered for injecting drug users. "We think this is the encouraging sign and evidence that China is considering that issue seriously," he said.