Myanmar destroys drugs worth $148.4 million | india | Hindustan Times
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Myanmar destroys drugs worth $148.4 million

The world's second-largest producer of opium destroyed seized substances with a street value of over a hundred million dollars.

india Updated: Jun 26, 2006 16:04 IST

Myanmar, the world's second-largest producer of opium, on Monday destroyed more than a ton of seized substances with a street value of over a hundred million dollars to mark international anti-drug day, officials said.

Speaking at the drug burning, police chief Maj Gen Khin Yi said Myanmar has made the eradication of "the scourge of narcotic drugs ... a national priority" resulting in a sharp decline in opium poppy cultivation and a drop in the quantities of seized drugs.

Drug enforcement officials said they torched 170 kilograms (374 pounds) of heroin, 691 kilograms (1,519 pounds) of opium, more than 20 million methamphetamine tablets, 102 kilograms (224 pounds) of crystallised methamphetamine, and chemicals used for making drugs, worth a total of $148.4 million.

The ceremony was held at the Drug Elimination Museum in Yangon to mark International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, and was attended by senior government officials and members of the foreign diplomatic corps.

According to the US State Department's annual survey of worldwide drug production and trafficking, Myanmar "is the world's second largest producer of illicit opium, accounting for more than 90 per cent of Southeast Asian heroin." Heroin is derived from opium.

It noted that Myanmar supplies just a small share of worldwide heroin, for which Afghanistan is the major source.

In 2005, Myanmar produced an estimated 380 metric tons of opium, it said, less than 8 percent of the opium produced in Afghanistan.

The report, released in March, said that Myanmar is also a main source of amphetamines in Asia.

Khin Yi, who is also secretary of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, said that drug eradication programs conducted with UN help had seen opium production drop by about 60 per cent over the past four years.

Khin Yi also said heroin seizures had fallen from 1,400 kilograms (3,080 pounds) in 1997 to 811 kilograms (1,784.2 pounds) in 2005.

He cited major drug seizures and the arrests and exchange of major drug traffickers as the successful result of collaboration with neighbouring countries.