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Ecstasy use rising: UN

Packages of methamphetamine and heroin are exhibited at a police station last month after four people were arrested in connection to trafficking the illegal substances
Packages of methamphetamine and heroin are exhibited at a police station last month after four people were arrested in connection to trafficking the illegal substances. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Ecstasy use rising: UN

The market for MDMA, or ecstasy, in Cambodia and other Southeast Asian countries seems to be growing, and the market for methamphetamine is diversifying, according to the United Nations World Drug Report for 2015.

The 2012 UN World Drug Report noted the possible emergence of ecstasy use in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, with low-level seizures of the drug in Cambodia and Thailand. About 0.2 tonnes were confiscated in Vietnam that year.

In addition, seizures of substances used to make MDMA, the active drug in ecstasy, have increased in recent years. Confiscations suggest a growth in regional distribution and use of the drug in Cambodia.

“According to expert perceptions in 2012, ‘ecstasy’ use had increased in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam,” the 2015 report reads. “The large amount of MDMA chemical precursors recently seized in East and South-East Asia and Oceania implies that there may be considerable ‘ecstasy’ manufacture in these subregions.”

Ministry of Health spokesman Ly Sovann yesterday said he had not seen the report, and was unable to contact a substance abuse expert at the ministry.

Cambodia and surrounding countries have remained a large consumer and transport route for the global methamphetamine trade, the report says. The global market has remained at a level comparable to 2011 and 2012, when seizures spiked to about 144 tonnes.

Sourcing for the region’s methamphetamines is diversifying as well, data suggest.

“West Africa appears to have become an established source of the methamphetamine smuggled into East and South-East Asia,” the report says.

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