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Drug problems worsen in South-east Asia as opium production rises

Thailand and South-east Asia face increasing drug problems following a boost in methamphetamine abuse and the expansion of poppy plantations in Burma and Laos, according to the 2011 report released on Tuesday by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

Young people in the region are major targets for methamphetamine, known as Ice, the report said. This is matched by an increasing number of cases reported by anti-narcotics police and the Office of Narcotics Control Board, especially in the North-east, which borders the two countries.

In certain cases, methamphetamines are sold as a diet supplement at prices cheaper than amphetamines. Amphetamines are more popular among Thais. Traders found this tactic attracted greater sales of amphetamines and helped them introduce methamphetamines to existing clients.

In its recommendations, INCB encouraged countries to increase the amount of internationally controlled drugs (ICDs) to match needs of patients under various conditions, following a World Health Organisation (WHO) standard.