November 15, 2019
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ASEAN meeting for drug kicks off in Myanmar's Yangon

The 34th ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Drug Matters (ASOD), which Myanmar hosts for the second time, opened here on Tuesday.

The four-day meeting is attended by officials from the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN member countries, representatives from ASEAN dialogue partners -- China, Japan, South Korea and India and those from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the United States, Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Myanmar Police Chief Police Major General U Zaw Win told the opening ceremony that Myanmar combats drug problem through two throng approach -- demand reduction and supply reduction. To eliminate opium production, three alternative development programs are being implemented in collaboration with Thailand, China and UNODC.

The programs are aimed at reducing poverty, improving social welfare, health and education status of local people and opium farmers.

"With the smuggling of precursor chemicals into the country from some neighboring countries, a new challenge-- production, trafficking and abuse of ATS has emerged. The increase in the trafficking of cold tablets containing Pseudoephedrine has been six years high and most of the trafficking are from India border," he pointed out, adding that "We are now in close collaboration with India counterparts for more stringent measures at border checkpoints."

On Tuesday's meeting, heads of delegations presented their respective countries' reports, which was followed by discussions by the working group on prevention education, treatment and rehabilitation, law enforcement, and alternative development.

Myanmar hosted the 24th ASOD meeting in 2003 and the last 33rd ASOD meeting was held in Malaysia in 2012.

In May this year, Myanmar also hosted six-nation Ministerial Meeting on drug control in Nay Phi Taw involving Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam as well as UNODC.

A Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on drug control cooperation was then issued reaffirming their commitment to overcoming the drug problem in East Asian region and assuring their efforts to eliminate the drug problem in the region.

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