Gov’t burns illicit drug, observes Intl Day against Drug Abuse

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Myanmar government officials burned a stash of illegal drugs and precursors with a street value of Ks66 billion to commemorate the United nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in nay Pyi Taw yesterday.

Counternarcotics officials reported 8,800 drug cases in 2016 and the establishment of 85 new drug abuse treatment centers, including 26 at large medical institutions, 47 at smaller medi cal centers and 12 rehabilitation centers.

The event was attended by high-ranking government officials including Vice President U Myint Swe who vowed to increase the intensity of Myanmar’s counternarcotics efforts.

“With systematic monitoring, we should establish plans and efforts to solve the root causes of drug trafficking,” said the Vice President. “Only then, shall we effectively reduce the menace of the illicit drug trafficking.”

The Vice President said that Myanmar law enforcement authorities were closely monitoring narcotic precursor chemical imports to keep them out of the hands of illicit traffickers.

While drug seizures went up in flames in yangon security officials in Mandalay and Taunggyi destroyed confiscated drugs worth more than $ 386 million.

Students have been given direct and indirect educational training on drugs to prevent their usage.

Educational videos, songs and news have also been broadcasted on MRTV and other channels in different languages, said Vice President U Myint Swe.

Myanmar is collaborating with regional countries, countries along the Mekong River, countries affiliated with BIMSTEC and countries who have signed drug control treaties and also with international organisations like the UN for anti-drug campaigns.

At the UN’s 30th general assembly of the Special Session on World Drug Problem in 2016, a road map has been designed which incorporates public health and development. A drug report in Myanmar is being carried out with help from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to help efforts in reducing drug addiction and drug production. A project for Community Base Treatment (CBT) is also being drafted and it will be used at the township level and trainings for facilitators are also being given.

“When creating a drug-free society, it is better to use an index that measures the level of drug related crimes and its dangers rather than the number of drug confiscations to see how effective current drug prevention techniques are,” said U Myint Swe.

It is important that everyone collaborates to devise new approaches to drug-related incidents given the complicated mixture of society, economy, rule of law and judiciaries involved in drug incidents, he added.

The theme for 2017 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is ‘Listen First’ which says that it is important to listen to the feelings of our children and youths and to work together for their development, health and safety.

Afterwards, Mr. Jeremy Douglas, UNODC’s Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, read the memorandum sent by the United Nations Secretary-General.

Chairman of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC), Union Minister LtGen Kyaw Swe, handed awards to six winners who created short novels, articles, poems, songs, photos and posters commemorating 2017 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Later, a video showing the performances of the CCDAC was played. This was followed by the Vice President taking a commemorative photo with the participants.

In 1987 the UN General Assembly decided to observe 26 June as International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and Myanmar has now observed it for 30 years.