Myanmar committed to completely wiping out narcotic drugs with or without external assistance

Myanmar committed to
completely wiping out narcotic drugs with or without external assistance

Opium production in
Myanmar drops to 40% in ten years

Secretary-1 attends 15th
Ceremony for Destruction of Seized Narcotic Drugs

( May 12, 2001

15th Ceremony for Destruction of Seized Narcotic Drugs of Central Committee for
Drug Abuse Control was held at Aungthabye Yeyeiktha on Kyaikwaing Pagoda Road in
Mayangon Township this morning, attended by Secretary-1 of the State Peace and
Development Council Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt.

Also present on the
occasion were member of the State Peace and Development Council Chairman of
Yangon Division Peace and Development Council Commander Maj-Gen Khin Maung Than,
Chairman of Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control Minister for Home Affairs
Col Tin Hlaing, Vice-Chairman Minister for Foreign Affairs U Win Aung,
ministers, deputy ministers, leaders of delegation to Ministerial level meeting
of the signatory countries to Memorandum of Understanding on Drug Control in
East Asia and the Pacific Sub-region and members, observers, delegates of UNDCP
and Drug Control Programme for East Asia and sub-region in the Pacific Region,
heads of department, ambassadors, Charges d’ Affairs ai, military attaches,
resident representatives of UN Agencies and officials, Secretary of CCDAC
Director-General of Myanmar Police Force Police Maj-Gen Soe Win and members,
members of work committees, senior officers of MPF, officials of Ministry of
Information, Patron of Foreign Correspondents Club U Sein Win, President of FCC
U Sao Kai Hpa and foreign correspondents, correspondents of foreign news
agencies, local and foreign newsmen and guests.

Secretary of CCDAC
Director-General of Myanmar Police Force Police Maj-Gen Soe Win reported on
latest developments on Myanmar’s endeavours for eradication of narcotic drugs.
He said :

At the outset, on
behalf of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, may I thank you all for
your august presence at this 15th ceremony for Destruction of seized Narcotic

I would like to state
that today’s ceremony is an auspicious due, which is different from the
previous occasions, because we are able to invite representatives from countries
in the sub-region who have come to attend the Senior Officials Level Meeting and
the Ministerial Level Meeting of 6 Nations MoU on Drug Control in the Sub-region
and it is a privilege to explain and share our experience with them.

You are well aware that
opium cultivation started to take root and proliferate in our country owing to
the evil legacy of the colonialists. The divide-and-rule system exercised by
them turned Myanmar into a State of insurgency after she gained her
independence. Insurgency and opium cultivation and production are inter-linked
and it had not been easy to unravel them. After independence, successive
governments tried to find a solution through military, political and
organizational means and by means of negotiation, but no successful solution was

With the advent of the
State Law and Order Restoration Council in 1988, emphasis was placed on national
solidarity, re consolidation and development of border areas. Realizing the
goodwill and benevolence of the government, 17 armed groups relinquished their
armed struggle and returned to the legal fold.

This success
facilitated the first and foremost opportunity after independence for the all
round development of Myanmar and the enhancement of the basic needs of the
national races of border areas.

The prevalence of peace
and stability in Myanmar enabled access to formerly inaccessible and far-flung
opium cultivation and production areas. Due to the changes that are taking place
it is perceived that eradication of drugs could be achieved gradually, it law
enforcement is carried out hand in hand with regional development.

Hence, the State
leaders laid down the following two strategies for the elimination of narcotic
drugs and psychotropic substances.

The designating
narcotic drug eradication as a national duty and the comprehensive
implementation of that strategy.

To development and
enhancement of the standard of living of the national races in the border areas
and total eradication of poppy cultivation.

In order to implement
the above two strategies, three tactics namely, Law Enforcement, Supply
Elimination and Development Elimination are laid down.

And to realise the
above two strategies and tactics, the following three methods are to be
practically utilised:-

For the producer and
abuser of narcotic drugs to enlighten their belief, conviction and their
psychological make-up for the better.

For the easy
accessibility and communication between those national races on the highland and
those at various other places.

To development the
socio-economic condition of the national races and border areas.

These policies and
directives reflect he true desire and intention of the state leaders to wipe out
the scourge of narcotic drugs.

In our country, poppy
and heroin are mainly cultivated and produced in the Eastern and North Eastern
part of Myanmar where communication is extremely difficult. These regions are in
close proximity to China and Thailand where we also share very long and porous
borders with them.

For many years, the
poor national races cultivated opium poppy without hindrance, which had been the
evil legacy of colonialism. After independence, successive governments attempted
to eliminate poppy cultivation, utilizing force to destroy poppy fields without
any success. With the advent of the military government, these opium growers
were provided with special programmes with a view to obtaining alternative from
agriculture and animal husbandry.

In addition, the
Ministry of Progress of Border Areas and National Races and Development Affairs
was also established to effectively and expeditiously implement development
programmes. Communication, education, health and border area developments
programmes were undertaken.

However, it is
regrettable that as we are afforded with the opportunity to undertake drug
eradication programmes in these once inaccessible areas and gaining momentum in
our endeavours, due to political reasons, external assistance from western
countries were discontinued.

However as we have
already set our goals to completely wipe out narcotic drugs as our national
duty, we are committed to achiever our goal whether we receive external
assistance or not. Without relying on external assistance and based on our own
resources, we have drawn up a 15 Year Drug Elimination Plan, commenced from 1999
and will terminate in 2014.

This 15 Year Plan is to
be implemented in the 5 Year Phases. We have already implemented the first of
the first 5 Year Phase. 25 townships are targeted in the first 5 year phase, 20
townships in the second phase and 9 townships in the third phase. Agriculture,
animal husbandry, construction of roads and bridges, communication and
transportation, energy, trade and commerce will be affected. On the other hand,
for demand reduction, treatment and rehabilitation, educating the students and
youths, mass media information and law enforcement will be harmoniously

The expenditure for the
first year (1999-2000) of the first 5 Year phase amounted to 1319.6054 million
Kyats and 1.495 million US$. The total expenditure for the 15 Year Plan is
estimated at 33588.136 million Kyats and 150 million US$.

I would like to
appraise not only the distinguished guests who are gathered here but also the
international community that Myanmar has been combating drugs with might and
main based on self reliance, and without any international assistance.

Here I wish to cite Mr
Sandro Calvani, Representative of the UNDCP regional Centre for East Asia and
the Pacific who stated during the World Drug Report 2000 press briefing on
January 23, 2001 that the Myanmar Government has carried out the fight against
narcotic drugs with all out efforts, that although newspapers are reporting and
portraying as if Myanmar as a whole is producing drugs, which is not the case as
drugs are produced only in some areas in the border areas. He also stated that
reporters should get permission from the government and visit border areas and
be better informed of the real situation.

Mr Calvani briefed that
opium poppy farmers at the border areas are earning only 100 $ US annually and
that narcotic drugs could be eliminated by crop substitution to obtain
alternative income and UNDCP is lobbying funds to provide assistance to
Myanmar’s crop substitution programmes. However he stated that UNDCP is unable
to secure sufficient funds to implement projects wholly because of political
blockade. During the last 3 years, the ratio of drug control assistance funds
received from donor community by Myanmar and Thailand is 1 to 300.

Mr Calvani spoke
favourably about Myanmar’s fight against narcotic drugs, and I wish to go on
record that it clearly portrays Myanmar’s dependence on its own resources and

With reference to
Myanmar’s Law Enforcement sector, according to Base Line Surveys conducted
annually as a nationwide movement since 1998, we have witnessed a declining
trend in poppy cultivation. In 1998/99 cultivation season, the acreage was
102,066.766, in 1999/2000, cultivation acreage dropped to 90,455.1 acres and in
2000.2001, acreage continued to drop to 81,661.10.

Manual eradication was
also carried out annually by enforcement agencies and looking at figures, in
1988/99 season 9824.667 acres were destroyed, while in 1999/2000
season—10,987.762 acres and in 2000/2001 season-23,007.359 acres were
destroyed. Year after year as the cultivation decreased, we have been able to
destroy more acreage of cultivation.

The Annual Reoirt of
the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) for year 2000 showed that out
of the global production of 5,800 metric tons of opium, 79% was produced in
Afghanistan, 6% was produced in other countries while Myanmar produced only 15%.
It showed that production in Myanmar dropped to 40% during the past 10 years.
Climatic factor may be cited as one of the reasons.

However, it is an
undeniable fact that the efforts of the Myanmar government, in spite of numerous
constraints, contributed towards the decline.

In this regard, the
Yangon UNDCP press briefing of the INCB Annual Report, also stated Myanmar’s
effort in implementing a 15 Year Drug Elimination Plan starting 1999. It was
stated that the total value of opium produced in Myanmar amounts to only 116
million US$, so it is feasible to generate substitute income. It also stated 96%
of the poppy farmers in the “Wa” Region cultivated opium owing to
insufficient rice and they would easily stop cultivating opium if alternative
crop is available.

In spite of this
positive trend, it is unfortunate that external assistance is not forthcoming. A
review of international funding for drug control programmes in Myanmar reached
its lowest point in 15 years in 2001. Myanmar’s actual and factual situation
was highlighted in this press briefing and it is evident that the decline in
opium production is the result of the endeavours of the Myanmar government.

If we review the
figures of drug seizures in Myanmar, since 1988 annual seizures have been
dropping significantly. This declining trend supported the assessment that poppy
cultivation and production in Myanmar has been dropping considerably since 1997.

On the other hand,
seizures of Amphetamine-Type-Stimulants in Myanmar were first made in 1996.
Subsequently, ephedrine used for the production of stimulants was seized staring
1997. We are very much aware that neighbouring countries had been plagued with
this problem for over a decade. It can be stated that ATS drugs came into
Myanmar only around 1996. But it is a fact that these ATS tablets were produced
for the international market inside and along the Myanmar border areas with
precursor chemicals and paraphernalia trafficked in illegally from neighbouring

With regards to ATS, at
the International Conference for a Drug Free ASEAN by 2015 organised by ASEAN
and UNDCP in Bangkok on October 11, 200, the US representative Mr Jim Callahan
stated that he had visited the Wa Alternative Development Project, and stated
that it would be difficult to implement a development programme in such a
far-flung and remote area, but he believed that the basic foundation had been
laid, which is an indication of the success of the crop substitution programme.

He rightfully pointed
out that local poppy farmers are involved in the stimulant production and stated
it clearly shows the hand of international drug syndicates working for a
profit;- a fact that calls for increased law enforcement strategies. This
statement truly brought out the real nature of stimulant drugs production in the
border areas of Myanmar.

Also, stimulants still
have limited market in Myanmar. Ephedrine powder, the starting material or
precursor chemical for manufacturing stimulants in neither produced nor
available in Myanmar. Moreover, chemists and skilled technicians for the
production of stimulants and specific substances are not readily available in
Myanmar either.

In this connection, it
is quite obvious that international drug syndicates, in collusion with local
drug traffickers, are illicitly manufacturing stimulants for the international

In this regard, under
the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, for interdiction purposes, up to
1999, 18 anti-drug units had been deployed at major trafficking routes and
strategic locations around the country.

However, due to the
fact on drug production, changes in trafficking routes, increased production of
stimulant drugs, trafficking routes of precursor chemicals and paraphernalia,
increased coordination and cooperation with neighbouring countries, 3 new
anti-drug units were formed at Bhamaw, Bago and the new Mandalay International
Airport while some anti-drug units are redeployed due to the changing
trafficking routes and drugs situation in the country.

Myanmar, as a signatory
to the 1988 UN Convention and to be in line with the stipulations of the
Convention, 8 precursor chemicals were notified as controlled chemicals used in
the production of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Due to the
escalating problem of ATS production on the Thai Myanmar border, and a
increasing percentage of caffeine in ATS tablets, on October 2, 2000 under
notification 3/2000, caffeine was added to the list of controlled precursor

In addition, under
notification 1/2001 a supplementary list of 12 precursor chemicals were also
notified as chemicals used in the production of narcotic drugs. To date Myanmar
has 21 controlled chemicals.

Myanmar is not only
taking vigorous measures to suppress narcotic drugs domestically, but is also
cooperating closely with neighbouring countries such as China, Thailand, Laos
and India, conducting alternate cross border meeting at the border to solve drug
problems arising and affecting along the common borders.

Myanmar has bilateral
agreements on drug control with countries within the region such as China, Laos,
Vietnam. Philippines and also the Russian Federation, which is outside the
region. Myanmar is also a signatory to the Memorandum of Understanding on Drug
Abuse Control with China, Thailand Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia and has been
actively implementing the Sub regional Action Plan Projects agreed upon by the

With respect to
international relations, Myanmar is an active player during last year, hosting
the 20th Meeting of the ASEAN Chief of Police (ASEANAPOL) in May 2000.
Similarly, in November 2000, Myanmar hosted the 24th Meeting of Heads of
National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies of Asia and the Pacific in Yangon.

What I have presented
this morning illustrates the stand taken by Myanmar concerning drug elimination
and the efforts made to realise it.

In conclusion, I would
like to say that since 21990 when we first conducted ceremony for the
destruction of seized drugs, we have now reached to the 15th occasion.

As the amount of drugs
that have been torched since the first to the fourteenth destructions including
the amount to the destroyed today have been distributed, I shall not go into
detail on it but give you a highlight on the drugs we are going to destroy
today, which are:-

Opium 1301.428 kgs

Heroin 116.469 kgs

Marijuana 439.931 kgs

ATS Tablets 27248615
tablets (2724 kgs)

Ephedrine 1562.692 kgs

The opium, heroin and
stimulants we are going to burn this morning is worth 900 million US$ in the
streets of the United States of America. The grand total of all the narcotic
drugs destroyed today is estimated at 920 million US$.

You are kindly invited
to inspect the authenticity of the drugs displayed at the adjacent field before
they are set ablaze by yourself.

I would to conclude my
presentation by extending my deep appreciation to members of the State Peace and
Development Council, Diplomats, Military Attache and invited guests, who have
given time from your busy schedule to grace this occasion.

The Secretary-1 and
party and guests watched bottles of cough mixture which contains narcotic drugs
being destroyed by the rollers.

Then, diplomats,
military attaches and officials of UN Agencies tested narcotic drugs which will
be burnt.

Afterwards, General
Secretary Lt-Gen Em Sam An of National Anti-Drug Authority of Cambodia,
Director-General Mr Yang Fengrui of National Narcotic Drug Control Commission (NNCC)
of the People’s Republic of China, Chairman General National Drug Control
Commission of Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Minister Mr Soubanh Srithirath
at the Prime Minister of Thailand, Deputy Minister Police General Le The Tiem of
Narcotic Drug Control National Committee of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,
Ambassador of the Russian Federation Mr Gleb A Ivashentsov, Ambassador of Japan
Mr Shigeru Tsumori, Ambassador of Korea Mr Chung Jung-Gum, Ambassador of
Cambodia Mr Nim Chantara and Mr Sandro Calvan of UNDCP and Drug Control
Programme for East Asia and sub-region in the Pacific Region who attended the
Ministerial level meeting of the signatory countries to Memorandum of
Understanding on Drug Control in East Asia and the Pacific Sub-region pressed
the buttons of remote controls to set on fire the narcotic drugs.

Then, the Secretary-1
and party and guests inspected torching the narcotic drugs.

A total of 1,301.48
kilos of opium, 116.469 kilos of heroin, 4.614 kilos of opium oil, 255.946 kilos
of opium liquid, 493.931 kilos of marijuana, 296.090 litres of Phensedyl,
27,248,615 stimulant tablets, 1,562.692 kilos of Ephedrine powder, 15.194 kilos
of opium powder, ten kilos of brown opium, 153.370 litres of cough mixture, 0.8
litre of Methadone, ten kilos of Pethadine, 1,244 Diphenoxylate tablets, 150,000
Lizotan tablets, 54,000 Ephedrine tablets, 18,304 litres of Codinephosphate,
6,343 Phenobarbital tablets, 604 Methaqualone tablets were destroyed . According
to the street price in US, the value of narcotic drugs was US $ 920 million.

The first destruction
of seized narcotic drugs was held on 13 February 1990.

The total of narcotic
drugs destroyed up to the 15th destruction were 123,694.208 kilos of opium,
3,747.529 kilos of heroin, 159.519 kilos of opium oil, 435.604 kilos of opium
liquid, 5,417.709 kilos of marijuana, 30,417.015 litres of Phensedyl, 80,855,208
stimulant tablets, 11,582.442 kilos of Ephedrine powder, 231.819 kilos of brown
opium, 1,518.121 litres of cough mixture which contains opium, 1,489 bottles of
injection containing opium, 39,177 cough tablets, 7,911 Methaqualone tablets,
34.277 kilos of low grade opium, 722,32 Diphenoxylate tablets, 10 Morphine
Sulphate tablets, 544,58 Ephedrine tablets, 8,008 Phenobarbital tablets, 23
bottles of Phenobarbital injection, 30.452 kilos of stimulant, 10.8 litres of
Methadone, 2,143.471 kilos of Phenyl Acetic Acid, 21.787 kilos of opium powders
and 150,000 Lizotan tablets.

The value of narcotic
drugs destroyed up to the 14th destruction was about US $ 3,600 million
according to the retail price in the US.

The total value of
narcotic drugs destroyed up to the 15th destruction was US $ 4,520 million.