Alternative Asean Network on Burma
campaigns, advocacy and capacity-building for human rights





About Us

Burma continues to be the main opium producer in Southeast Asia and the second largest opium producer in the world. Burma is also the top producer of amphetamine type stimulants in Southeast Asia. Amphetamines production and trafficking has allowed the SPDC to reduce the amount of land in opium production in response to international pressure but to still have a significant source of revenue that is less politicized than heroin.
• Burma accounted for 21% of the world’s opium production in 2005.
• Opium addiction was reported to affect 0.57% of the adult population in Burma in 2005, with 1.74% of the population in opium-growing villages and 0.28% in non-opium growing villages.
• In 2004, Burma produced approximately 700 million amphetamine tablets - about 7.5% of total global manufacture.
SPDC involvement

Through its numerous ceasefire agreements the SPDC has allowed ethnic armed groups such as the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the National Democracy Alliance Army (NDAA) to freely engage in narcotics production and trafficking.

• SPDC officials regularly accept bribes from groups such as the UWSA as payment for safe transport of their drugs inside of Burma, making the SPDC complicit in the continued production and trafficking of amphetamines. There are also accounts of SPDC Army officers planting opium poppies to supplant their salaries.
• To date, the SPDC has not prosecuted or extradited any of Burma’s biggest drug lords. Through laundering of drug profits, the former dug lords appease the junta by funding its mining industry, overseeing much of its agricultural sector, operating its chief national banks, and running other private businesses.
Health and social impact
Most of the heroin and amphetamines produced in Burma is trafficked overland or is shipped along the Mekong River. Amphetamines produced in Burma have been documented flowing to China, Thailand, India, Laos, and Bangladesh, every country that borders Burma.
• In Burma, 26-30% of officially reported HIV cases are linked to intravenous drug use, one of the worst rates in the world. In 2003, 50 and 85% of intravenous drug users in Rangoon and Mandalay tested for HIV were positive. Infection rates remain highest in Burma’s northern and eastern ethnic regions where opium, heroin, and amphetamines are most readily available.
• In China, the number of known drug addicts increased 35% from 2000 to 1.2 million by early 2005. China’s HIV/AIDS epidemic had its origins in cities in Yunnan Province that border Burma. HIV was originally transmitted by injecting drug users and attributable to the illegal drugs coming to China from Burma. As of 2003, the proportion of reported HIV among injecting drug users was 44%. In some areas the prevalence rises above 80%. Yunnan Province has the highest HIV prevalence zone in China. The drug problem also jeopardizes public security because of drug-related crimes.
• In India, there is a direct correlation between the proximity to the Burma border and drug abuse. In addition, injecting drug users represent a significant incubus for the indirect spread of HIV to people who have never used drugs.' India's northeast - Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Tripura - has been declared as one of the country's high-risk zones with close to 100,000 people infected with HIV.
• In Thailand, more than 10,000 methamphetamine psychotic patients sought treatment during 2002 and in many hospitals 30-50% of the patients admitted were for treatment of methamphetamine use. In 2006, drug officials in Thailand projected that the costs of rehabilitative services for 20,000 drug addicts would be 100 million baht (US $2.5 million).