Union of Myanmar
of Home Affairs
Committee for Drug Abuse Control
15 YEAR DRUGS
The Myanmar people abhor drugs consumption both on the
religious and cultural levels.
During the 16th century, although foreign Arab
merchants engaged in smuggling opium into
Pathein and Thanhlyin, the people were known to have
abstained from its use. This came about due to religious grounds.
It was also strictly controlled during the Myanmar monarchy.
Consequent upon official permission for its cultivation in
Yunnan as an aftermath of the Anglo-Chinese Opium War, the opium
cultivation spilled over into contiguous areas in Myanmar’s
Shan and Karen states. Soon after the British annexation,
the legal sanction for
its cultivation extended
right up to the
eastern bank of the Thanlwin river. The Opium Act was promulgated
but the force of law failed to embrace Shan, Kachin and
Chin States actually giving rise
to rampant rife of opium dens and even brazen open market
sale of the drug.
Post independent era
saw Myanmar having to grapple with the problem of Chiang Kai Shek
– led porting of
Kuo Ming Tan stragglers marking incursions into the Shan States
and spoiling for a fight with the People’s Liberation Army. For
their own survival and stand-off
with the PLA, the
Kuo Ming Tans are known to have engaged in rampant poppy
cultivation and opium trafficking. The crisis was aggravated by
insurgents cashing in on opium cultivation and trafficking for
their own sustenance as well as joining hands with profiteering
The 1970’s saw the Burma Communist Party’s increasing
foray into the Koekang-Wa areas
local inhabitants into poppy cultivation monopolizing raw opium
for processing into
No. 4 heroin, thereby enlisting foreign experts and importing
illegal chemical precursors.
The Union Government accentuated the anti-drug campaign
with international assistance. The insurrection problem,
being intermingled with
drug trafficking, the
Armed Forces swung
into operation waging quite
a number of anti-suppression drives that in the 1980’s that led
to an upsurge of returnees to the legal fold and a proportionate
upbeat in the drug suppression drive.
The political situation however vitiated the unqualified
acquisition of international cooperation. The State Peace and
Development Council is resolved to eradicate the drug menace with
own resources. The State leaders have accordingly drawn up a plan
to eliminate the scourge within 15 years.