The 135 national races who call Myanmar their beloved home - land, had lived together as members of a family in peace and harmony, in weal and woe, throughout the past centuries. They are a deeply religious people who are rightly proud of their age-old culture and traditions.
The people of Myanmar had not known the danger of utter devastation narcotic drugs could wreak in the fabric of an unsuspecting and innocent Asian society. Historically, narcotic drugs became one of the most lethal weapons in the hands of the colonialists who devised devious ways and means to corrupt and to subdue the inhabitants of the countries they had subjugated. Thus it was, that the first war of aggression against Myanmar in 1824, which brought about the introduction of the malicious and hitherto unknown methods of massive cultivation of opium poppy on the fertile and virgin soil of Myanmar. The opium poppy plant (Papaver Somniferum) is not indigenous to Myanmar. It was introduced to Myanmar from Mediterranean via India. It was never grown systematically by the people of Myanmar or on a massive scale intended for commercial exploitation of the opium sap. It was rather the colonialists who without any scruples commercialized and politicized opium as a weapon against the subjugated peoples. Moreover, the accrued profits from the nefarious opium trade were readily used to wage foreign wars of aggression e.g. the Opium War of 1839-42 between Britain and China. The demands made by the British after the war bear witness to the fact that they were using opium as an adjunct to their foreign policy. Since that period in history, the Myanmar people have had to endure the scourge of narcotic drugs transplanted onto their soil by the unscrupulous colonialists. The youth of the country have suffered, as have millions of lives around the globe. The efforts made by the people of Myanmar to eradicate opium poppy from their country which also constituted an integral part of their anti-colonialist struggle, have not been given due recognition or credit. It remains to be fully understood and appreciated by the international community.
The Government of the Union of Myanmar has already launched a 15-year plan for the total eradication of the opium poppy from the length and breadth of the country. This 15-year plan will enable the 135 national races of the Union of Myanmar to finally rid themselves -of the scourge of narcotic drugs, and thereby render service as well to the world at large, for indeed the scourge of narcotic drugs transcends international borders as well as international politics. The menace of narcotic drugs is not unlike a contagion, which rages across the map of the world, threatening to destroy human societies, just as nuclear weapons are now endangering the very existence of humankind. In such a grave and urgent crisis, the Union of Myanmar s 1tands ready to extend her cooperation and join hands with those who share their grave concern regarding the menace of narcotic drugs. The Myanmar people staunchly believe that a person should give to the world the very best he or she possesses, for the best would unfailingly come back to that doer of good deeds. This is the law of Karma. In this noble spirit, the Myanmar people are proffering their cooperation to the world at large, in the common struggle against the menace of narcotic drugs, with the hope that the best of their intentions would turn into reality in the not too distant future. The opium poppy has no place whatsoever in Myanmar society.