Myanmar’s meth crisis reaches as far as Australia
In Myanmar, the more conflict there is, the more drug production you’ll find.
And the trade has brought together unlikely friendships.
Last year, Myanmar soldiers drove 700,000 Rohingya from their homes in Rakhine state, often burning their villages to the ground. Now, some of the same soldiers are reportedly working with poverty-stricken refugees trafficking drugs.
The unlikely partnership speaks to the breadth of Myanmar’s drug crisis, with even a monk arrested last year in Rakhine State carrying 400,000 meth pills.
“No walk of life is untouched by the drug problem” says Troels Vester, UNODC Myanmar country director.
From jungle meth labs to Australia’s streets
Myanmar is the second largest producer of opium in the world, after Afghanistan. It’s also one of the largest producers of methamphetamine and much of it is making its way to Australian streets.
It doesn’t take much to produce “yaba” — small red pills made from meth and caffeine — just a small kitchen and a few chemicals.
Mobile labs can easily pack up and run, which Myanmar authorities say makes it difficult to track down labs.
“Myanmar can’t produce chemicals, but we are situated between China and India which are the biggest producers,” explains Police Colonel Zaw Lin Tun.