Your Excellency, The Secretary(l) of the State Peace and Development Council,

Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt,

The Chairman and Vice-Chairmen of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control,

Heads of Department,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

The Military Attaches,

The Press Corps,

Invited Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, I wisl1 to express my

sincere talks  to all distinguished guests for giving  time to be present here at the

Fourteenth Destruction of Seized Narcotic Drugs.

At the outset, I have the pleasure to h1form you that today’s drug burning occasion is

significant compared to the previous 13 times whicl1 were held usually in February or March

am1ually. This year it is held in honour of and to welcome the International Day against Drug

Abuse and Illicit Trafficking which falls on the 26 June.

The presentation today will be made in two parts. On the first part, I shall update you

on Myanmar’s endeavours in eradicating the narcotic drugs problem.

The second part will be by Police Brigadier General Maung Maung Than, Head of the

Criminal Investigation Department and Member of the Law Enforcement Committee, who will

apprise you of the narcotic drugs to be destroyed today.

Distinguished Guests,

On several occasions, we have explained how opium arrived to this country and who

initiated refining opium into heroin and therefore I shall refrain from dwelling on this and

confine myself to present to you Myanmar’s efforts to be rid of this problem and the

achievement made thus far.

Since regaining Myanmar’s independence, successive governments have striven for

the eradication of narcotic drug laws and byelaws were enacted and observed. However much

drug seizures, destruction of poppy fields, treatment and rehabilitation activities were carried

out and continuously stepped up, effectiveness and success seem to have eluded us.

In analyzing this elusive situation, one would find the weakness in the Laws enacted

then and shortcomings in the government departments that observed them. Furthermore, one of

the mah1 reasons for this ineffectiveness was due to the insurgency problem resulting in

security restrictions.

The principal areas that cultivate opium poppy and produce heroin are in the eastern

and northeastern part of the country where access is difficult. Furthermore, they share

thousands of miles of common borders with China and Thailand. Since regaining independence

and until 1989, these areas had been under the domination of armed insurgent groups thereby

making  it impossible to tackle the illicit drug problem at its source. The insurgent groups to

build up their funds and replenish their arms and ammunition by engaging in trafficking and

sale of illicit drugs seized this opportunity. These factors contribute to the increasing problem

of illicit drugs.

Myanmar received a fair share of assistance from the international organizations in

the fight against narcotic drugs during those days. Financial assistance was received from the

UNFDAC in agriculture, livestock breeding, education, health, rehabilitation and law

enforcement sectors and also from the United States in destruction of poppy fields. However,

assistance from the international community, including that of the United States ceased from


Not only did the United States and European countries stop all assistance to Myanmar,

but also began to level various kinds of accusations against this country; -that illicit drugs

production have been stepped up; -that instead of taking effective law enforcement measures

the country is turning  a blind eye; -that cooperative efforts are not to expected level. I hope that

I can clear these accusations and criticism with my presentation today.

Distinguished Guests,

Since assuming State responsibilities in 1988, the government stepped up anti-drug

campaigns year after year, tackling the problem in all its facets, employing a multi-sectoral

approach. In so doing, it is co-operating not only with its neighbours but also with the

international  organizations and the international community. Drug eradication activities in

Myanmar are regarded not only as a national duty, but also as a national commitment. The

Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control and its sub-committees that were established in

1975, have been reorganized and reinforced with a view to effective and expeditious

implementation of the task at hand.

Furthermore, a Strategy for the eradication of narcotic drugs, as well as the three

Tactics namely, Supply elimination, Demand elimination and Law enforcement were laid down

together with work programmes for speedy response and balanced approach. The most

important task at hand is for the government to be in control of the poppy cultivating areas in

the fight against drugs. Not only have the government been able to root out the insurgents but

also been able to conclude peace agreements with the armed groups, enabling to work together

for the eradication of illicit drugs in the poppy cultivation and drug produing areas.

I should like to inform the distinguished guests and the international community at

this stage, that Myanmar have been combating the scourge of illicit drugs with her own

resources without the assistance of the international community. It is disheartening to note that

assistance is still not forthcoming when we are at an opportune moment to be rid of this

problem. Successful eradication therefore, will still be at a slow pace than expected.

We believe that enforcement measures alone will not solve the problem but will only

lead to sufferings of the poor farmers. To achieve long term sustainable poppy free border

regions, the government realized the need of special programmes for the local inhabitants and

poppy farmers.

In this context, a Ministry for the Progress of Border Areas and National Races and

Development Affairs was established for the development of border areas and to

implement alternative income generation, agriculture and livestock breeding programmes for the poppy

farmers. Poppy cultivating areas at one time that are now rapidly developing, are testimonies to

this endeavour. For this major undertaking, the government has spent over 18 billion kyats to

date in carrying out work programmes for the development of the border areas and

national races beginning 1989.

In addition to these, in co-operation with the UNDCP, the

government  is implementh1g Alternative Development Projects and Illicit Crop

Monitoring Programmes in the poppy cultivation areas, as well as buckwheat cultivation and other

alternative crops as crop substitution, with the assistance of Japan and China respectively. Karamosia International, a

Japanese NGO is also starting work for socio-economic development of the “Wa” region. 

I can proudly say that due to these efforts, cultivation and production of

Opium have gradually decreased from 151200.006 acres in 1997/98 to 102066.766 acres

in 1998/99 and only 90437.61 acres in 1999/2000. From that, 44479.352 acres in 1997/98, 9824.667 acres in

1998/99 and 10970.272 acres in 1999/2000 were manually destroyed.

It may be mentioned here that the estimates projected by the United States on opium

poppy cultivation in Myanmar are slightly higher than what we are able to survey. Nevertheless,

their report also mentions the same trend and records a decrease of 31 % in cultivation and 38%

decrease in production last year. No one can deny that such a decrease is due to the efforts of our

government. Similarly, it has been stated in the 1999 Report of the International Narcotics

Control Board that opium production has declined in Myanmar.

In parallel with reduction efforts in the supply sector, continuous measures are also

being carried out to reduce demand for illicit drugs. In dissemination of knowledge on the ill

effects of drug abuse, not only are the government departments engaged in these activities,

collaborative efforts are also being carried out with local NGOS and international organizations

through electronic and printing media to reach out to the populace.

Educative talks, exhibitions and contests are conducted as well as included in the

school curricula on drug abuse to reach out to the school children. In this regard, I have the

pleasure to announce that the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control is going to stage a

National Exhibition on Narcotic Drugs Education to the general public on 26 June coming

Monday at the Envoy Hall on U Wizaya Road.

Distinguished Guests,

A baseline survey conducted in 1998-99 indicate over 80,000 drug users in the

country, which may be the closest we may be able to compile, even if it may not be the precise

figure. Preparations have been made for drug users to register and receive treatment not only at

special treatment centres but also at general hospitals. Moreover, treatment

may  also be

received at the Shwe Pyi Thar and Shwe Pyi Aye Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation

Centres in I Bago Division and Southern Shan State respectively, which are

administered by CCDAC.

In addition to the two treatment and rehabilitation centres directly under CCDAC,

Department of Social Welfare has established six centres to rehabilitate drug addicts.

The CCDAC is also providing assistance to the local ethnic leaders’ own programmes hl treaullel1t

of drug addicts. Myanmar is also actively implementing Drug Demand Reduction Projects in

collaborationl with UNDCP undel the Subregional Action Plan of the MOU 6

coutries. l can firmly  say that the increase in number of drug addicts can definitely be put to a stop due to these

efforts hl reduction of demand for drugs.

Disthlguised Guests,

To continue with the Law Enforcement Sector, although Myanmar was able to reduce

illicit opium cultivation and production, we have found that the emerging threat of

stimulants is an alarming trend hl the country. Although  neighbouring countries in the subregion were

already facing this problem for the past decade, Myanmar had been spared from the problem

until 1996. While illicit production and trafficking of amphetamine type stimulants by

unscrupulous drug traffickers have now emerged at the borders of Myanmar, abuse of these

stimulants is not widespread as yet hl the country. Measures have been taken to

contain the spread of stimulant  abuse in the country by all departments


Here, I can firmly say that essential chemical precursors for

production of stimulants like ephedrine and psuedo-ephedrine are not produced hl Myanmar.

Since 1997 frequent seizures of ephedrine and precursor chemicals have been made which were illegally trafficked

h1to Myanmar from Thailand, China and India.

Since ephedrine and some precursors were unknown to enforcement agencies and

field officers before 1997, we do not know how much has slipped away from right under our

noses. Only after receiving training and field test kits from the UNDCP Precursor Control

Project of the Subregional Action Plan, were we able to identify ephedrine and begin to seize it.

In this connection, we also wish to express our gratitude to the National Police Agency of Japan,

the Australian Federal Police and the Drug Enforcement Admhlistration for their assistance and

collaboratioll towards this end.

Beginning 1997, seizures of opium and heroin declined significantly in Myanmar, and

so also is the same hl neighbouring Thailand and Chilla. Annual seizures of stimulants and

ephedrine have however, been found to be on the increase. In 1999, 28.8 million tablets of ATS

and over 6200 kilos of ephedrine, as well as 3 tabulatng machines were seized. Stimulant

seizures made hl Myanmar are mainly on trafficking routes along the borders and rarely hl big

cities like Yangon and Mandalay. It may be assessed from this that demand for stimulants in the

neighbouring countries are on the rise. It may be also concluded those foreign drug syndicates

in collaboration carry out illicit production of stimulants hl Myanmar with local


based in the highly porous border areas.

Distinguished Guests,

Although Myanmar is criticized for illicit production of drugs, the media and

criticizing countries should also bear in mind that drugs can not be refined without chemicals.

In other words;- no precursors, 120 drugs. In 1999, over 60,000 litres of precursor chemicals

were seized. Since Myamnar does not manufacture chemicals, all these chemicals were

smuggled into the country through our neighbours and one can imagine how much may have

been smuggled in undetected. We are also well aware of the fact that our neighbours are doing

their best to prevent diversion of chemicals to illicit use. However, all means are employed to

smuggle them into Myanmar. I should therefore like to emphasize once again the urgency in

effective control of chemicals.

After having assumed the State responsibilities hl 1988, the Government

promulgated in 1993 the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law, which is

in conformity with the 1988 UN Convention on illicit Trafficking. This Law prescribes stiff penalties against drug

offenders. After this Law was promulgated, 14 death sentences, 84 sentences for unlimited

number of years, 35 life sentences and 7 above twenty years sentences have been passed.

Distinguished Guests,

On the other hand, Myanmar has been actively co-operating not only with countries in

the region but also with the international community. Opium yield surveys has been conducted

six times with the United States government  from 1993 to year 2000.

Moreover, we are also participating in the Illicit Crop Monitoring Programme (ICPM)

with UNDCP to crosscheck and verify satellite imagery with on-ground survey of opium poppy

cultivation. These activities clearly show that Myanmar is continuously co-operating with other

countries and organizations in combating the scourge of illicit drugs.

In so doing, Myanmar has also concluded bilateral agreements with countries hl the

ASEAN region, with neighbours, with countries in the sub-region, and also with countries

outside the region. Myanmar hosted the Fourth Heroin Conference and, likewise, has proposed

to host the forthcoming HONLEA meeting towards the end of the year. Yet still, the United

States is exerting pressure on us by accusing Myanmar’s actions as not satisfactory and refrain

from providing assistance. The international media likewise, turns a blind eye to our efforts and

still continues a campaign of negative comments.

Whatever kinds of accusations may come from whichever quarters, we will carry on

with our own efforts and our own resources for the total eradication of narcotic drugs. Because

of the initiatives of leaders of the national races, Monglar Region of the Eastern Shan State has

now been declared an ‘Opium Free Zone’ since 1997. Likewise, other leaders have also

committed themselves to be able to declare their own regions Opium Free in the near future. As

the leaders of national races are striving for their regions to be free of narcotic drugs, so also is

the government sparing no efforts to eradicate the illicit drug problem by laying down and

implementing a Fifteen Year Plan for the total elimination of narcotic drugs.

The Government of Myanmar has begun implementation of the Fifteen-Year Narcotic

Drugs Elimination plan starting from 1999/2000. This plan will target 51 drug cultivating and

producing townsl1ips and will cover a broad spectrum of supply elimination, demand

elimination, law enforcement community participation and international Cupertino activities.

The plan has an estimated budget of Kyats 33,588.14 million and US$ 150 million. Should the

international community and organizations be in a position to assist implementation of the plan,

we believe the objectives will be achieved within the designated time frame.

Distinguished Guests,

What I have presented to you are Myanmar’s position towards illicit drugs and its

endeavours to eliminate this problem. At this juncture, al low me to quote His Excellency Senior

General Than Shwe  Prime Minister of Myanmar, when he delivered a statement on the

occasion of the 51st Anniversary of the Armed Forces Day on March 27, 1996.

Quote– .. ‘ Combating narcotic drugs is an enormous difficult formidable

task since it is the concern of all peoples of the world. We will welcome

assistance from all quarters if given with genuine and sincere goodwill. Even if

assistance is not forthcoming we will carry on with our own means to eradicate

the scourge of narcotic drugs,  which is endangering the people of the

world’- unquote.

In carryh1g out the planned activities under the Fifteen-Year Plan, we will not be

looking towards, and hoping for intenzational assistance, but rather rely on our own resources

and determination  as His Excellency Senior General Than Shwe pointed out.

Distinguishd Guests,

The narcotic drugs that will be destroyed before you today are but a fraction of our

efforts. Police Brig. Gen. Maung Maung Than will submit to you the amount of drugs that will

be destroyed which you will witness for yourself momentarily. I should also like to invite you to

observe the exhibits on some of our activities that are displayed in this hall. 

To sum up my presentation this morning, I would like to reiterate that the Myanmar

Government is sparing no efforts in eliminating narcotic drugs in accordance with our own

aspiration. It is tackling the problem in all its facets employing a multi sectoral approach. It has

also reached peace agreements with armed ethnic groups in this endeavour and tangible results

have been achieved. Whatever kinds of accusations may come from whichever quarters we will

continue with our chosen path to eliminate the scourge of illicit drugs.

I wish to conclude by sincerely thanking the senior members of the State, members of

the diplomatic corps, the military attaché corps, and specially invited guests who have found

time to fit into their busy schedules to grace us with their presence at this significant occasion


I thank you.