More than one billion methamphetamine tablets were seized in East and Southeast Asia last year for the first time, according to a new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
A total of almost 172 tons of methamphetamine in all forms were seized. This represents a seven-fold increase over the amount seized ten years ago, the Associated Press reports.
“I think the region is literally swimming in methamphetamine,” Jeremy Douglas, Southeast Asia regional representative for the agency, said at a news conference in Bangkok. “So there’s going to have to be a radical policy shift by East Asia to address this problem or it’s just going to continue to grow.”
Douglas said production and trafficking has increased as the supply has become concentrated in Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Increased production makes meth cheaper and more accessible, he said, noting when he first worked in the region in 2002-2007, meth tablets cost five to six times what they cost now.