Methamphetamine use is on the rise in the country due to the foreigners, including those from neighbouring countries, using the drug when they come to visit or work, according to the police.
Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) in Southeast Asia include drugs such as methamphetamine which is also known as “crystal meth” or just “ice” or “ya ice” in the region.
A police official from the Ministry of Public Security, who asked not to be named, told Vientiane Times on Tuesday that, although they did not mention quantities, the use of this drug has been increasing.
“Methamphetamines are stronger than amphetamines, or as they are known “ya ba”, but not many Lao people use it because the price is too expensive,” the informant said.
Most users of “ya ice” in the country have been foreign visitors while some groups of tourists have entered Laos specifically to use methamphetamines. They are sometimes caught by the police and sent back to their countries, according to the source.
Recently, a large number of criminal cases being prosecuted at the Champassak provincial court have been related to drug trafficking. Six Lao people have been sentenced to jail for trafficking in drugs (crystal methamphetamine) as well as some weapons charges.
Three Cambodians were also sentenced by the court for trafficking crystal methamphetamine, including one of the men who lived in the province’s Khong district with his Lao wife and sold the drugs while his other two compatriots were involved in the distribution and transportation between Laos and Cambodia.
The United Nations also says it has recently seen an increase in the production of ATS in Southeast Asia, with ATS drugs such as crystal methamphetamines on the rise in Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam as well.
In June of this year, over 4,300,000 ATS tablets, 883 kg of dry cannabis, 1.92 kg of amphetamine derivatives (ice), and 105.8 kg of powder for mixing and producing drugs were set ablaze in Vientiane to demonstrate the authorities’ stance against drugs.
In 2015, more than 30kg of amphetamine tablets, 41.4kg of dried cannabis, 10kg of amphetamine derivatives (ice), and 3kg of heroin were set ablaze in Vientiane to demonstrate the authorities’ stance against drugs and to mark the 28th International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
In 2014, the amount of illicit drugs seized in Vientiane and the provinces destined for incineration included over 3.8 million amphetamine tablets, 238.5kg of heroin, 47.8kg of raw opium, 1,480kg of dried cannabis, 83.5 kg of morphine and 22.3kg of ya ice.
In 2013, the drugs incinerated included 5.2 million amphetamine tablets, 2,212kg of dried cannabis, 307kg of crystal methamphetamine, 18kg of compressed heroin, 1.4kg of heroin powder, and 3.2kg of a substance resembling heroin.
Source: Vientiane Times