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Burma: Drug Control Progress and Possibilities


  • Jenna Dawson
  • Daniel Barlow


Burma is the second largest opium producer in the world, and is quickly becoming a hotbed of methamphetamine production. Opium profits have helped to finance conflict within Burma for both the central government and the insurgent ethnic groups; however, with the 1989 ceasefire agreements with the insurgent ethnic groups the drug control context changed dramatically. In April 2002, the Kokang and Wa ethnic leaders, whose regions account for the vast majority of opium poppy cultivation, committed to making their territory opium-free by 2003 and July 2005 respectively. The combined drug control efforts of national and local leaders have shown promising results, as both UN and US opium surveys have confirmed large declines in poppy cultivation. As Burma continues to reduce opium cultivation, it has struggled in recent years with an increase in the production of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). Combating the threats from opium and ATS will require different strategies. Stronger border controls, improved law enforcement and interdiction techniques must complement development strategies and alternative cropping policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Jenna Dawson & Daniel Barlow, 2006. "Burma: Drug Control Progress and Possibilities," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 25(1), pages 7-22.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:soaktu:v:25:y:2006:i:1:p:7-22

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